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Insider Only Flames got Penguins out of their element in 5-2 loss

The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped the final game of their western swing with a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames on Saturday night.

Pittsburgh’s winning streak was snapped at six games and have won an impressive nine of 11 games.

Yet much still isn’t right with this hockey club despite the 9-5 record through the first 14 games of the season.

Sidney Crosby has been held pointless in 10 of 14 games and has three even strength points through 17 percent of the season.

Kris Letang has regressed and the Penguins No. 1 pairing of Letang and Ian Cole has been a disaster.

Patric Hornqvist has just two goals and at some point the working hard narrative won’t last.

Most nights Olli Maatta has looked like he belongs in Wilkes Barre than the NHL.

This is just a weird team at this point. They deserve a lot of credit for finding ways to win but there should still be a pause with this group.

TREND TO WATCH

All five losses (Dallas (2), Arizona, Montreal, Calgary) this season for the Penguins have been a continued trend, against teams’ with lots of speed.

Could this be a problem down the road in the post-season when trying to get through the East? Tampa Bay, Montreal, Rangers, Islanders are all teams in the east with excellent speed.

Calgary’s speed and skilled dazzled in the game as they beat the Penguins through the neutral zone and had a field day with zone entries.

What Calgary did like Dallas was able to do twice this year vs Pittsburgh was get the Penguins out of their conservative low risk system.

By pushing the play and getting out to an early 3-1 lead, the Penguins were out of their element, and it led to them trying to trade chances with the Flames.

When you have Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel, trading chances would be considered a good thing, right?

Apparently not the case as head coach Mike Johnston was not happy with the Penguins trying to play that way in the second period.

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Ian Cole, Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang were all minus-4’s in the loss. Crosby’s lack of production has been well documented all season, but Letang’s play is starting to become a concern.

“He plays against a lot of top players,” Mike Johnston said of Letang’s bad plus-minus/analytical numbers.

Going into Friday’s game, Letang/Cole were 55 of 56 pairings in CA/60 Against.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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