It should come as no surprise that a member of the Penguins’ top defence pairing is on a six-game point streak.After all, a player with Kris Letang’s offensive instincts and abilities is bound to go on an offensive tear from time to time. Except Letang isn’t the one who has a point in each of the Penguins’ last six games, the longest active streak among NHL defensemen. Instead, it’s Letang’s partner, Brian Dumoulin, who has been appearing on the scoresheet a lot lately.
Consistent defensive play
Dumoulin is best known for his consistent defensive play rather than his ability to score points. Oh, he makes a nice outlet pass and understands the importance of attempting to get pucks on goal, but it’s Dumoulin’s responsible work in his own end – and how it allows Letang to participate in the offence – that gets the most attention.
However, while Dumoulin’s scoring streak will be the longest of his career when the Penguins play at KeyBank Center on Saturday at 3:08 p.m., Mike Sullivan said it does not reflect any fundamental change in Dumoulin’s approach to his job.
“Every night, (Dumoulin) brings the same game that we rely on to help us win games,” Sullivan said. “He’s in such good position. He’s a man on the move. He defends well with his stick, mobility, and intelligence. I’ve always believed that he’s a guy who contributes to offence even if he doesn’t end up on the scoresheet every night. He makes good outlet passes and isn’t just a ‘off-the-glass-and-out’ type of player. With his speed, he joins the rush. Along the offensive blue line, he assists us with our possession game in the offensive zone. He does a lot of things well that, I believe, go unnoticed but help our team generate offence. We’re thrilled for him that he’s being recognised on the scoreboard.”
Marcus Pettersson invoked the “hockey gods” to explain why Dumoulin has suddenly gotten a point in so many straight games. While luck may have played a role in Dumoulin’s streak, Pettersson believes it has nothing to do with why Dumoulin is the standard for other defensemen.
“He’s a guy you look at and try to imitate what he does out there,” Pettersson explained. “Try to play the way he does. He establishes the tone for how we intend to play back there.”
Dumoulin’s points have been a boon for the Penguins’ offence, which has been missing some key forwards.
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