To see Penguins playoff intensity on display, watch these areas of the ice | TribLIVE.com
Penguins/NHL

To see Penguins playoff intensity on display, watch these areas of the ice

Jonathan Bombulie
1004504_web1_1080524824
Getty Images
Marcus Pettersson of the Pittsburgh Penguins holds up Anthony Beauvillier of the New York Islanders during the second period at NYCB Live at the Nassau Coliseum on December 10, 2018.

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The idea that the intensity of the game increases exponentially once the regular season ends and the Stanley Cup playoffs begin is an accepted fact around the NHL.

Players treat it like an article of faith. Fans, huddled around their televisions, swear by it. Entire ad campaigns are built on it.

But what exactly does that mean once the puck drops?

As they made final preparations for Game 1 of a first-round series against the New York Islanders on Wednesday, several Pittsburgh Penguins players pointed out specific areas of the game where ramped-up intensity will be on display in the postseason.

Winger Garrett Wilson suggested watching an attacking team on the forecheck.

Every forward will attempt to finish every check, trying to run opposing defensemen through the boards whenever possible. In addition to being a byproduct of raging adrenaline, it’s also a smart investment for later in the series.

“Guys are definitely going hard on the forecheck, trying to get in and get their hits, trying to wear the other team down,” Wilson said. “I think that’s where you see it the most.”

Winger Dominik Simon suggested paying close attention to the first few shifts of the game.

“It’s a different level,” he said. “It’s way more physical and stuff, and it just keeps rolling. You hear the fans more. The fans are way louder. The game is quicker. It’s more physical. Emotions are higher. Stakes are higher.”

Simon pointed out a few other areas of the game where playoff intensity is easy to spot.

In the defensive zone, players will try to block every shot, from a harmless lob from the point to a blazing slapper that hits triple digits on the radar gun.

“You try to eat every puck,” Simon said. “It doesn’t matter how.”

He also mentioned the high-stakes moments at each blue line. Offensive players often will safely get a puck deep rather than making a risky play to try to create a scoring chance. Defensive players will fight like their careers depend on it to get a clear when the puck is loose on the half-wall.

“Every inch of the ice becomes a little bit more difficult to gain,” defenseman Erik Gudbranson said. “The value of little plays that seem meaningless rise astronomically. Obviously the physicality is probably the one that’s the most noticeable, but it really comes down to the intricacies of the game that become so much more valuable.”

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 TribLive.com 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.