Monday, April 18, 2011

Letang's goal: Play good defense

Thanks to "58 Reasons" for this link.

Now that Kris Letang has evolved into the Penguins' top defenseman and an NHL All-Star, he would prefer that the emphasis be placed on his defensive play instead of his goal-scoring prowess.

Considering he hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 10, that only makes sense. Letang had eight goals and 50 points in the regular-season, but hasn't tallied since Feb. 11 at the New York Islanders -- a span of 27 games.

"I'm not looking to score goals or put points on the board," Letang said prior to the playoffs. "It's more playing a defensive game and making sure I shut down those top guys on the other side."

It doesn't help that Letang plays the left point on the Penguins' power play, which is 0 for 13 in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Defenseman Zbynek Michalek said opponents are focusing more on Letang since Sidney Crosby suffered a concussion Jan. 5.

"Him and Sid seemed to have a really good connection, especially on the power play," Michalek said. "When Sid went out, people started paying a lot of attention to (Letang) and it makes it tougher on him."

Letang isn't worried, not after scoring three regular-season goals in 2010 then five in the postseason. He knows his best offense is good defense.

"I don't want to make too much of the goal-scoring thing," said Brooks Orpik, Letang's partner. "When he's at his best, he's focused on playing good defensively because we're always playing against one of the top lines. When he takes care of that, it seems his offense comes naturally and takes care of itself."

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