There hasn’t been much wrong with the performance of the Pittsburgh Penguins through three games of the 2022-23 season.
There have definitely been some some low lights, though, as the Penguins lost found themselves unable to seal a game in overtime.
While the game against the Montreal Canadiens never should have made it to the extra frame, the Penguins showed that there are still some old habits that need to be fixed.
Yes, the Canadiens scored in part due to the Jeff Petry penalty, but the Penguins still have need to be all around smarter.
In the 2021-22 season, the Penguins played ended regulation tied 20 times; of those game they walked out of the year with a 9-11 overtime record.
For a team that boasts players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, and numerous other who can score and make big plays, there isn’t much reason for a number below .500.
A lot of the draw back can be placed on the style of game the Penguins play once overtime begins.
The team usually contrasts what 3-on-3 overtime was created for and that’s high-event, high danger hockey.
The Penguins like to slow the game down, accumulate possession time, and wait for their opponents to make the first mistake.
While that can be a smart way to execute, you don’t get as many scoring chances playing the waiting game.
There is enough talent on the Penguins roster that they should be able to play the high-event hockey and not give up a scoring chance the other way.
Not to suggest the Penguins completely ignore strategy and a defensive mindset in overtime, but a happy medium needs to be met if they want to walk away with the extra point.
And given the poor 3-7 record in shootouts last season, they should want to avoid going the full five minutes without scoring as much as possible.
Those bonus points from overtime victories can be important in a strong Eastern Conference and the Penguins have to find ways to improve their play in the bonus frame.
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