Penguins focus on improving defense, patience

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When you have a roster littered with stars and semi-stars, it’s easy to get seduced into the siren call of a “track meet” style game. Still, it seems that has burned the Pittsburgh Penguins here and there – most notably in an upset loss against the New York Islanders on Tuesday – prompting the team to reassess their game plan, as Brooks Orpik and others told The Associated Press.

“I think you fall into a trap,” Orpik said. “I think especially when you get away with it for a few games. It starts snowballing and you get on a roll and you think it’s going to keep happening.”

“We’ve got to be willing to win 2-0 instead of 6-4, 7-4. When you play good teams it’s tough to win when you play that wide open.”

Even with the Penguins’ treasure trove of talent, the postseason can often be an unfriendly place for high-scoring, loose styles. NHL officials have already resisted calling obstruction penalties more and more as the last few seasons have gone on and that’s only likely to increase as the playoffs come along – which is bad news if Pittsburgh expects to light up the scoreboard.

The good news for that bunch is they’ve been there plenty times before and certainly have shown the ability to grind out ugly wins with Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin out of the lineup.

It’s a mild bummer to say this from an entertainment standpoint, but they might just want to take that star-free mindset into the playoffs despite being chock-full of marquee talent.