AFTERMATH: Pens beat Devils

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This picture looks like Beau Bennett just got trucked by Conor Sheary. I don't think that's how it actually went down, but it looks like it.

This picture looks like Beau Bennett just got trucked by Conor Sheary. I don’t think that’s how it actually went down, but it looks like it.

There were a whole bunch of encouraging signs for the Penguins in a 7-4 win over New Jersey tonight. Here’s a list.

— They secured home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. They’re 31-6-4 at home this season.

— With home ice clinched, they can rest whoever they want for the final two games of the season Saturday in Toronto and Sunday in New York.

— Some players with young legs made a big contribution. Their first four goal scorers — Bryan Rust, Jake Guentzel, Josh Archibald and Conor Sheary — haven’t turned 25 yet.

— A player with old legs made a big contribution. The 40-year-old Matt Cullen scored a big shorthanded goal early in the third.

— The fourth line continues to impress. Scott Wilson, Carter Rowney and Josh Archibald teamed up for a goal for the third straight game. Makes you wonder if there’s some way these three could stick together once Evgeni Malkin is back in the lineup. Probably not, but it makes you wonder.

— The first line remains filthy. I mean, this goal. Jeez.

— The power play scored twice.

— Trevor Daley made his return to the lineup after knee surgery and played a regular shift on a pair with Brian Dumoulin with no apparent problems.

— Nobody else got hurt. Matt Murray seemed to be favoring his right leg after making a save on a Taylor Hall breakaway in the third period, but after the game, he said he was fine. Chad Ruhwedel and Ron Hainsey went to the locker room at various points with injuries but quickly returned to the ice.

You could probably think of a few others, but you get the gist.

There was also one discouraging sign.

The Devils tilted the ice on them quite a bit.

chart (25)

This is similar to the Columbus game from Tuesday night.

The Penguins do have the firepower to beat a lot of teams without having a possession advantage, but I don’t think it’s the way they want to win. Giving up 38 shots and four goals to the Devils two games before the playoffs is no bueno. Probably not sustainable.

Mike Sullivan isn’t up in arms about it or anything, but he sees what’s going on.

So enjoy the big, long list of encouraging signs. Get ready to open the playoffs at home next week. But don’t forget the red flags as well.

Bye for now,

jb

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