At What Price Freedom? Pittsburgh Penguins Lacking Defensive Cohesion

November 12th, 2010 by Matt Gajtka Leave a reply »
The play was emblematic of the season thus far.

Defenseman Alex Goligoski charged up the boards inside the blueline, trying to keep the puck in the offensive zone midway through the third period of a 4-4 game. Shawn Thornton of the Boston Bruins got to the biscuit first, however, and chipped it past the oncoming Goligoski and into the neutral zone.

From there, the Bruins' fourth-liner joined rookie Brad Marchand on a two-on-one rush into the Pittsburgh end. With Penguins' defenseman Ben Lovejoy covering Marchand, Thornton rifled a shot over goaltender Brent Johnson's glove from close range, giving Boston its first lead in a 7-4 victory at CONSOL Energy Center Wednesday night.

Through the first two periods of the contest, the Penguins (7-8-1, 15 points) had played head coach Dan Bylsma's attacking philosophy to near perfection, outshooting Boston 34-20 en route to a 4-2 lead through 40 minutes. The embattled power play had just converted for the third straight game and the Penguins had kept the Bruins hemmed in their own zone for long stretches of even-strength play as well.

Boston fought back early in the third, scoring twice in 15 se ...

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