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The Pittsburgh Penguins Flex Their Muscles with 4-1 Rout of the Los Angeles Kings

January 31st, 2014 at 3:27 PM
By Andrew Brown

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The Pittsburgh Penguins’ 4-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings last night was a statement. Make no mistake, a pure statement. Granted, the Kings are slumping and the Pens still have problems to address but as some nameless figure once said, “A win is a win”. And boy howdy, was last night’s win a impressive one.

First off, the Penguins showed a enormous amount of trust in rookie Jeff Zatkoff. This was a headline matchup between two of the brightest squads in the NHL, so coach Dan Bylsma would not have been scolded for placing number one goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in net. Heck, that’s how its been all season. But Byslma’s decision to go with Zatkoff against a opponent of such high merit says a lot about the swell of confidence the team has in him, which was questioned as recently as last week. Zatkoff rewarded his coach with a 30 save performance and his ninth win of the year.

The Penguins should also hang their collective hats on the chasing of star goalie Jonathan Quick. The USA Olympic netminder is regarded as one of the premier goalies in the league and the Pens ran him out after the first frame. Again, impressive. Quick’s teammates get a assist in the feat, as Dustin Brown and Jarrett Stoll’s double minors on Evgeni Malkin gave the Pens a 5-on-3 for two minutes. The Pens capitalized on both power plays.

Quick said of the penalties, “You give any team 5-on-3, they're going to create chances. They get one there, and on a 2-on-1 I got beat over the shoulder. We're at a point where we're not out of the game. It's still a two-goal game, and we just couldn't get it together enough to get a couple.”

The Penguins have a knack for frustrating teams like that.

Last night’s victory showed the NHL that the Penguins are good enough right now to go deep into the playoffs. It also hid the team’s lack of a consistent third line and there is still a glaring need for a first line winger. But those are problems that when solved will transform the Pens from a dangerous team to world-beaters.

They beat the Kings with these problems, imagine who they’ll beat without them . . .

Tags: Hockey, Jeff Zatkoff, Los Angeles Kings, NHL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Penguins

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