How rapidly issues can change. Only some days earlier than our Penguins have been driving excessive on the crest of a six-game profitable streak…and climbing the MassMutual East ladder.
Now, crippled by a sudden rash of accidents to key personnel, we’ve misplaced two in a row and are sliding again into the pack. Watching our recreation however undermanned boys wrestle to maintain tempo throughout a 3-2 loss to the Devils final night time solely confirmed my worst fears.
Could be some time earlier than we win one other recreation.
It definitely wasn’t for a scarcity of effort. We fired a season-high 42 photographs at Devils goalie Scott Wedgewood (nice identify for a hybrid golf membership), a late substitution between the pipes.
After yielding the primary three targets of the sport, two on long-range photographs by way of site visitors, we battled again. Whereas engaged on an influence play, Jake Guentzel tipped dwelling a Kris Letang blast from middle level within the waning seconds of the second interval, capping an lively 20 minutes (22 photographs on purpose) for the black and gold. Bryan Rust adopted swimsuit, scoring a fairly purpose off a faceoff…alas solely 5 seconds earlier than the ultimate horn.
An ‘A’ for effort. However ultimately, we simply couldn’t get ‘er finished.
I confess I had flashbacks to our pre-Sid Pens of the early 2000s. I keep in mind tuning in and rapidly being bored to tears watching the likes of Matt Bradley, Shean Donovan and Mike Eastwood mangle the puck. This recreation had an analogous vibe, solely the names had modified…Mark Jankowski, Colton Sceviour and Frederick Gaudreau, who truly didn’t look misplaced in his black-and-gold debut.
Completely comprehensible for our guys to wrestle. In any case, 4 of our high 9 forwards are on the shelf. No group can lose that a lot top-end expertise and anticipate to stay as potent. Nonetheless, the sport wasn’t precisely a delight to the eyes.
An commentary. For all of our shot exercise, valuable few got here from the prime scoring areas. Fewer nonetheless have been of the high-danger selection.
Now greater than ever, we have to eschew fairly and jam the entrance of the web. We want the puck to bounce in off an Anthony Angello or a Zach Aston-Reese or a Sam Lafferty. We want ugly.
Hopefully, we’ll see just a little extra of that in our return match with the Devils on Saturday.
The Pens outshot their hosts, 42-35, and received 53 % of the faceoffs. We outhit the Devils, 27-19, together with a team-high 5 by sparkplug Brandon Tanev. Want we had a couple of extra guys like him.
Letang collected assists on each targets. He topped us in ice time (24:25), adopted intently by Guentzel (23:27).
Evan Rodrigues centered the second line between Tanev and Kasperi Kapanen. Each wingers collected an help. The reconstructed third line featured Aston-Reese, Jankowski and Lafferty. Gaudreau anchored the fourth line between Angello and Sceviour.
John Marino (minus-one) returned to the lineup following a four-game absence. Tristan Jarry made 32 saves for a .914 save share, however wasn’t hermetic.
Evgeni Malkin was positioned on IR, retroactive to Tuesday’s recreation. He’s anticipated to overlook at the very least three video games. Jared McCann and Mark Friedman look like near returning.
The Pens presently maintain a one-point edge (37-36) over Boston within the battle for third place within the MassMutual East. Nonetheless, the Bruins have a greater factors share.
A day after being shelled by the Rangers, 9-0, the fifth-place Flyers beat the Islanders, 4-3. Philly has 33 factors with two video games in hand.
*You’ll want to take a look at Rick Bukers books,
accessible at TriumphBooks.com,