Can the Penguins “flip the switch?” It was the most frequently asked question about this team coming into the playoffs. Last night the Pens emphatically answered “yes!”
Over the last two years, we’ve seen pedestrian regular season players lift their games to new heights in the playoffs.
Brian Rust has 33 goals in 181 career regular season games. He’s got 14 in 47 career playoff games. Playoff Rust was back last night.
Jake Guentzel has 38 goals in 122 career regular season games. He’s got 14 in 26 career playoff games. Playoff Guentzel was back last night.
Carl Hagelin has 26 goals in 179 games with the Penguins in the regular season. He’s got 21 goals in 113 career playoff games. Playoff Hagelin was back last night.
Matt Murray has a .917 save percentage in the regular season. He’s got a .930 save percentage in the postseason. Playoff Murray was back last night.
Derick Brassard averages .55 points per game in the regular season and averages .70 points per game in the spring.
Crosby and Malkin are both top 20 players all-time in playoff points per game. Phil Kessel has 45 points in 50 playoff games with the Penguins.
“Can the Penguins flip the switch?” Looking back on it, it was such an odd question to ask. They’ve got a roster full of players who outperform or match their regular season statistics when the stakes are at their highest.
How far will that take them? I don’t know. I sure as hell won’t bet against them. The playoff Penguins were back last night.
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