Pittsburgh Penguins: Stopping Montreal’s onslaught of shots

Justin Schultz #4 and Matt Murray #30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Justin Schultz #4 and Matt Murray #30 of the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens like to shoot the puck a lot. It’s easier said than done, but the Pittsburgh Penguins need to find a way to deal with the onslaught.

Whoever the Pittsburgh Penguins have in-between the pipes, better be sharp and ready. Whether it’s Matt Murray or Tristan Jarry, they will be busy. However, the activity that they will be might just be in the sense of extra work, not a difficulty. The Montreal Canadiens have a high shot volume, which looks impressive to the naked eye but is still somehow unimpressive.

The Habs have been playing the basic playing style of north/south hockey. So maybe, it’s not that impressive because they don’t follow up after the shot. It’s not for lack of skill as the Canadiens have plenty of talent, but from the outside looking in, their overwhelming amount of shots on the net just don’t have the “wow factor” that would be expected to come along with it.

Regardless, Pittsburgh will still have to be ready for the overwhelming onslaught on pucks flying towards the net. The challenge starts with taking the pressure off of the defense with a solid counterplay and transition game. “The best defense is a good offense” might be a military term, but it makes complete sense in this instance. The Pens have better offensive weapons; now, they just have to show it.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Stopping Montreal’s onslaught of shots

The other big challenge will be in the net, especially with Murray. His .967% low danger 5v5 save percentage this year was solid at best. His counterpart, Jarry, was better with a .980%. Although they may seem close, the tide turned toward the middle to the year when Jarry took the reigns.

Coach Mike Sullivan will have the boys ready, and with a full battery at his disposal, if something doesn’t mesh, he has the tools and ability to change it. In net, it will be a massive showing for both goalies as they battle for their Penguin’s lives, let alone their jobs. Although a pesky task, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

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This challenge may have already been dealt with during the regular season as the Penguins outshot the Canadiens in their three games played against one another. They will have to do this again but for maybe just the same amount of games. This matchup is very intriguing and somewhat scary, but it will most assuredly start and end with the netminders. No pressure, right?