Lots of talk this season about scoring being down in the NHL and the excitement level of games falling with it. That’s why it’s nice when a kid like Vladimir Tarasenko comes to town.
Coach Mike Johnston talked after morning skate about how to defend Tarasenko.
“He’s the type of player that’s really dangerous when he gets isolated one-on-one and you don’t have a lot of back pressure on him. For him, he’s one of those game-breaker type players. They get open ice and they capitalize. He’s had a great start to the season. We have to make sure we know where he is and make sure we get a lot of pressure on him.”
Some other notes from morning skate:
— Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off and Daniel Sprong and David Warsofsky were the last skaters on the ice, so no lineup changes are expected tonight.
— St. Louis is the only NHL team Sidney Crosby hasn’t scored a goal against (not counting the Penguins, of course).
Crosby talked this morning about how to attack the St. Louis penalty kill, but the same principles could probably apply at even strength too.
“They block a lot of shots. They’re pretty aggressive. Knowing those things, you’ve got to execute, make a good first pass when you get in there and try and settle things down. When you get shooting opportunities, you’ve got to find a way to get it through and find rebounds. Nothing that you don’t focus on against other teams, but it’s good to be aware of what they do.”
— One other quote from Crosby this morning that I’m going to have to throw a penalty flag on.
“We want to get to our game and use our speed.”
Fifteen yards for using the catchphrase of a previous coaching regime.
— I don’t know if the Penguins will face a bigger D corps this season that St. Louis’. Their first pair is 6-4, 212 Jay Bouwmeester and 6-3, 210 Alex Pietrangelo. Their third pair is 6-5, 226 Colton Parayko and 6-4, 215 Robert Bortuzzo. Those are some hosses.
A Johnston quote on the St. Louis D:
“I don’t think it’s necessarily getting physical with their defense that’s the key thing. I believe it’s competing on loose pucks with them. You’ve got to get in on loose puck battles with them, make sure you’ve got good body position, make it hard on them to get around you.”
— Bortuzzo stepped out onto the St. Louis bench before morning skate started and greeted a few former teammates that came by for a stop and chat. It’s not surprising. He was always a well-liked player during his time with the Penguins organization. These days, he seems to really fit in with what St. Louis is trying to do on defense.
Bye for now,