Penguins winning with defense

A team loaded with offensive stars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang is not supposed to do what the PittsburghPenguins are doing.

A team loaded with offensive stars such as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang is not supposed to do what the PittsburghPenguins are doing.

Pittsburgh, which is one win away from its fourth Stanley Cup, has held the San Jose Sharks to seven goals in four Stanley Cup finals games, winning three of them. The Penguins allowed three of the goals in their loss.

"Well, I mean, they get back quickly," Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said of the Penguins unheralded defense. "They just get the puck out of their own end as quickly as possible up to their forwards. There's nothing fancy about it."

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan agrees with DeBoer's assessment.

"They're not trying to do too much," he said. "They play within themselves. They trust their teammates are going to do their jobs as well. I think because of that, we've become a team defense that's very difficult to play against."


Defense was supposed to be the Penguins weakness and it was for large portions of the regular season, but the group as a whole put it together at the perfect time for a lengthy run through the playoffs.

"Well, I think they've been an underestimated group all throughout the post-season," Sullivan said. "These guys are playing extremely hard. They play the game the right way. I think they pride themselves on the contributions they make to our team. I think they believe in our team."

That approach has frustrated Sharks stars Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski , who were rolling along before being stymied for much of the finals.

"But, you know, there is no magic answer," DeBoer said. "They get a ton of attention. I think our support group has to take a little bit of pressure off them. We got a goal from Melker Karlsson last night.

"We got to find a way to get some from some other people, too. We've got to draw a few more power plays, which usually creates some offense for those guys."

It's safe to say that the stars for both teams have been relatively quiet in the finals, with the Penguins depth players being the difference in the series to this point.

"There's some things we can do," DeBoer said. "But I can tell you their effort, the things that they've done that have made them successful through the first three rounds of the playoffs haven't changed going into this round.

"You have to give Pittsburgh some credit for the job they've done on them. The stars on both sides would tell you there's not a lot of room out there."

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