Pittsburgh Penguins: Five Things to Watch in First-Round Matchup

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby
PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 26: Sidney Crosby /
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  1. Odd-man rushes

One thing can almost be guaranteed for this series: a high number of odd-man rushes and breakaways. Both teams play an intense, offense-first system, with pinching defensemen. This opens up the game to plenty of opportunities for teams to take advantage of.  Jesse Marshall over at The Athletic gave a good breakdown of the Penguin’s plan to use the lob pass to bypass the Flyers system, which you can read here.

Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins /

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins will need to make sure that any defenseman that pinches in on a play is replaced by a back-checking forward. This has been an issue for the team in recent weeks, resulting in plenty of breakaways and 2-on-1s.  For the Flyers, the 2-1-2 system tries to prevent this by not buying in too hard, but isn’t impenetrable.