Pittsburgh Penguins Weekly Roundup: 5 Points on the Pens

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Apr 19, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates an assist on a goal by Penguins center Brian Gibbons (not pictured) against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the first period in game two of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the CONSOL Energy Center. The Blue Jackets won 4-3 in double overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4. The Pens are shooting everything, everywhere, all the time.

Through their first four games of the year, Pittsburgh is second in the league in shots-per-game with 36.8. They sit behind only Chicago who is averaging 40.

It’s still early (really early), but considering Pittsburgh ranked 16th last season in the same category, their hot start in the shots department is noteworthy.

Led by the previously mentioned monster, Pittsburgh has posted shot totals of 39, 41, 29, and 38 through their first four contests – with the only outlier being the 29-shot performance against Dallas, which saw a lower number with Dupuis sidelined.

There’s a reason you hear hockey players repeat the same lines over and over before games and on the bench and between periods – “We’ve got to keep shooting”, “We just need to keep putting pucks on net”, etc. You’re not going to win without shots. It’s about more than just giving yourself an opportunity to score. It’s about carrying out a consistent attack. The mental game is won by the team that never lets up, that attacks and pushes all the way until the final horn, never giving an inch to their opponent.

It’s no coincidence that perennial contenders Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston all finished in the top 10 in this category last season.

The Penguins have at times been caught relying too much on their ability to carry out complex plays simply because they’re one of the few teams with personnel talented enough to do so. Coach Johnston’s new system seems to have remedied that, however, as the team looks to be making the shoot-everything mentality a key part of their identity in 2014-15.