Pittsburgh Penguins: Jake Guentzel is the key to success in the playoffs

Jake Guentzel #59 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Jake Guentzel #59 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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A voice of optimism from the Pittsburgh Penguins GM last week on Jake Guentzel returning is music to Pittsburgh’s ears, as he will be the Pens key to playoff success.

Jim Rutherford sat down with the media last week and, in his typical ways, spoke with honesty and straightforwardness. He talked about the upcoming playoffs but, more importantly, touch on the positive return of the Pittsburgh Penguins forward, Jake Guentzel.

If or more like when Jake returns to the Penguins lineup, he will see himself immediately pushed to the top once more. The speedy left wingmate to Sidney Crosby will be surely welcomed back by more than just the fans, Sid and Sheary will also appreciate his return to action. The NHL pause and playoffs catapulting again almost seems to be a blessing in disguise for this situation.

If the season didn’t get postponed due to COVID-19, it is highly likely that we wouldn’t have seen Guentzel until next year. With everything the way it is now, it gives him time to recover and get ready. His return will help sure up the Penguin’s top two lines, but more importantly, his skills and abilities will settle down the forwards around him.

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Pittsburgh Penguins: Jake Guentzel is the key to success in the playoffs

His speed alone helps, but his abilities to take on more that one opponent at a time and free up teammates was vital this season. Guentzel to Crosby, Sheary, or whoever is defending will be a crucial phrase heard a lot this postseason. Conor Sheary and Sid have a great relationship, but Sheary is a grinder, not a sniper/play-maker. That skill next to the best in the world… lights out.

Playing next to Sidney Crosby can sometimes make others look right because you’re benefiting off of him, but in the case of Jake Guentzel, it’s more than that. His patience around the net and ability to pass the puck on a dime has benefited others that just himself.

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If playing next to Sid does help, Jake takes advantage of it. Much like his ability is keen on taking defenders on, so is Crosby’s, and when Sid does Sid, Jake has repeatedly been there to clean it up. Whether it’s giving or taking this postseason, Jake Guentzel will be one, if not the key to success for the Pittsburgh Penguins attack.