Kovacevic: Are Penguins better without Malkin? Of course not, but …


To continue reading, log into your account:

[theme-my-login show_title=0]
Zach Aston-Reese backhands a goal behind the Jets' Laurent Brossoit in the first period Sunday night in Winnipeg, Manitoba. - AP

WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- It wouldn't have been Patric Hornqvist's fault.

It was early in the second period Sunday night at Bell MTS Place. Score was still tied. The Penguins' third line had begun moving toward the visitors' bench for a change on the fly, only it was far too sluggish to meet that criteria. The Jets, with their goaltender holding the puck deep in their zone, had a man motion for a fast breakout in hopes of capitalizing.

Just like that ... tic ... tac ... and there went Kyle Conner, sprung at the blue line.

Watch this below, and watch, in particular, that Penguins defenseman Kris Letang had also begun moving toward the bench for a change of his own:

It's as if Conner were being gifted a breakaway.

Except that's not how things have been working of late.

Now, go back up and watch that one forward who does change on the fly, that one forward who lives his life on the fly. Because that's where this game was truly won:

1. Hornqvist's zero-to-60 pursuit of Conner catches Letang's eye that something's amiss and, hey, he'd better reconsider leaving the ice.

2. Those two collapse around Conner, and Hornqvist knocks the puck off his blade, both players cautiously avoiding taking a penalty in the process.

3. Penguins 7, Jets 2.

Sorry, but it isn't more complicated than that.

To continue reading, log into your account: