Penguins Forwards Play Defense
Photo: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire
Lets take a closer look at how the Penguins forwards answered the call defensively on their way to the Cup.
The rankings below are of 16 playoff teams
PIT forwards ranked 11th in negative Defense but 2nd in positive Defense. They made more than their share of defensive mistakes but were committed to making Defensive plays when necessary..
They ranked 1st in High Impact Positive Defensive Plays (HIPDP's) which points to their ability to diffuse dangerous offense by the opposition and clean up after the big defensive breakdowns.
These HIPDP's were a central piece to their Defensive Zone Coverage where they were also the top forward group. Many fearlessly executed shot blocks contributed to a number of victories.
Lastly as a group, the Pittsburgh forwards had the lowest number of Negative Sequences in the playoffs, meaning they rarely made back to back defensive mistakes. They did a great job of not letting "bad" go to "worse", a central tenet of strong teams.
How about the individual players that produced these impressive play by play defensive results?
The Glue...Nick Bonino made the most net positive Defensive plays and led the entire playoffs in defensive contribution. He also led both the Penguins and all playoff forwards in Cleans...making a positive defensive play after a teammate has just made a negative play.
Underrated...Matt Cullen was second to Bonino in Overall defensive contribution by centermen. He's been an underrated TP star for several years and it's great to see him continue his excellent defensive contributions.
Conscience...Patric Hornqvist and Brian Rust ranked 1st and 2nd in Defensive Zone Coverage, delivering many of those HIPDP's mentioned above.
Digging in...In the Cup Finals, Evgeni Malkin had the lowest negative defense among all centermen......he was the most reliable center defensively.
And finally Phil Kessel, who had a negative defensive contribution during the regular season, increased his positive defensive plays by 52% and reduced his High Impact Negative Defensive Plays (HINDP's) dramatically.
Does defense win championships?
On a play by play basis?........ask the Cup Champs.
Stay tuned as we turn our attention to the PEN's Offense.
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