Penguins defensemen have game to remember against Rangers |

Penguins defensemen have game to remember against Rangers

Jonathan Bombulie
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
The Penguins celebrate Marcus Pettersson’s goal against the Rangers in the second period Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019 at PPG Paints Arena.

It’s not unusual to see Kris Letang score goals. In fact, in the past week, he’s flown past Paul Coffey into the top spot of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ all-time list of goals scored by a defenseman.

What’s odd is for him to have so much company.

In a 6-5 victory over the New York Rangers on Sunday afternoon, the Penguins got four goals from defensemen in one game for the first time in almost 30 years.

Letang, who scored twice, was joined by Marcus Pettersson and Brian Dumoulin in the goal column.

According to Penguins historian Bob Grove, it was the first time the Penguins got four goals from defensemen since a 7-3 win over Washington on Dec. 26, 1990. On that night, Coffey scored two and Peter Taglianetti and Zarley Zalapski had one apiece.

“It’s huge,” Letang said. “That’s how we want to play. We want guys to join the rush and support the attack. We rely a lot on our mobility out there and guys that can help our forwards offensively. To see them getting rewarded is nice.”

Letang’s second goal was the most important. It broke a 3-3 tie in the third period to give the Penguins the lead for good. His first goal, banked in off the skate of Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk late in the first period, gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead.

Pettersson and Dumoulin scored in a three-minute stretch in the middle of the second period.

Pettersson converted on a one-timer from the right circle off a cross-ice pass from Nick Bjugstad on the power play. On his next shift, Pettersson won a race for a loose puck below the goal line, which led to Sidney Crosby setting up Dumoulin coming off the bench for a shot and a goal from the high slot.

Coach Mike Sullivan said defenseman scoring is an important part of creating offense.

“The way teams defend in this league, when the puck’s low in the zone underneath the hash marks, most teams collapse coverage,” he said. “In order to try to spread them out or find some ice to play on, a lot of times, it’s in the top half of the zone.

“If you can go low to high and look for an opportunity to get the puck to the net or look for an off-net deflection, it’s a predominant way to generate or manufacture offense the way the game’s being played today. We’d like to see our defensemen shoot the puck, get more pucks to the net.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Penguins
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.