Penguins credits a warm start to the coaching of Mike Sullivan – CBS Pittsburgh

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By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -Through the first five games of the 2021-22 NHL season, the Pittsburgh Penguins have yet to lose in regulation and are currently second in the league in goals for, having scored 23 in just five games.

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It’s early, yes, but the penguins are doing all this without the services of Sidney Crosby, who is recovering from an out-of-season wrist surgery, and Evgeni Malkin, who also required out-of-season knee surgery.

Meanwhile, Jeff Carter, Jake Guentzel, Kris Letang and Bryan Rust have all missed fights to start the year for various injuries as well as COVID-19 protocols.

While names like Drew O’Connor, Evan Rodrigues, Brock McGinn and Danton Heinen have contributed positively, the players give credit to the man behind the bench for the team’s warm start.

“It’s nice to have confidence in your coach,” Rodrigues said. “When your coach trusts and believes in you, it gives you that extra confidence. I had a great first year in Buffalo, and since I’ve been traded here and had the chance to play and get regular minutes, I think I’ve come back to the game that made me successful and made me an NHL – player. ”

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All of this comes in the heels of the penguins and captivated a completely healthy Toronto Maple Leafs squad that includes names like Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, 7-1 Saturday night at the PPG Paints Arena.

Despite their superstars, the penguins have also managed to ruin the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on the NHL’s opening night, doubling as Tampa’s banner-traveling party and a newly rejuvenated Chicago Blackhawks.

“No one is looking for excuses,” Sullivan said after the penguins’ victory over Toronto. “I think everyone gathers around it and tries to make a difference in the game. Different players appear at different times. For me, it’s what brings teams together, it’s what galvanizes groups. ”

Right now, Heinen, Rodrigues and O’Connor are all leading the team in scoring with identical state lines on three goals, two assists and five points.

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The pens look set to continue their undefeated streak on Tuesday in an opening match tonight at the PPG Paints Arena when defending champion Lightning arrives in town at 6 p.m.


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