Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Latest Pens Buzz: Getting Malkin a winger still on priority list for management?

Penguins take get 3 of 4 points in back-to-back situation

The Penguins ability to bounce back from blowout losses is another reason not to be overly concerned yet with how the Penguins level of play falls off a cliff in the second night of back-to-backs.

For one, there are no back-to-backs in the postseason and as Wednesday’s 3-2 win vs the Oilers showed, when the Penguins have a dialed in focus, more often than not they find a way to get a “W” in tight games, similar to how difficult they have been to beat four out of seven times the last two post-seasons.

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And the Penguins followed up a gritty performance against the Oilers with a nice effort Thursday night against the Flames in a 2-1 overtime loss.

Pittsburgh got to their speed game well and peppered Calgary with 44 shots as Flames netminder Mike Smith turned in a great performance.

Pittsburgh is now 7-2-2 in one-goal games this season.

Wednesday night Pittsburgh rode a great performance from Matt Murray with a 35-save effort and scored twice on the power play with goals from Patric Hornqvist and a game winner in the third from Evgeni Malkin on the man-advantage.

The Penguins got strong goaltending again vs the Flames with Tristan Jarry making his season debut and turning aside 32 shots. Jarry was very calm in goal.

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The Penguins are 8-5-2 at the 15 game mark.


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— What was lacking again vs the Oilers and Flames was 5 vs 5 production as Conor Sheary scored the lone even strength goal vs the Oilers and a Patric Hornqvist deflection goal was Pittsburgh’s only goal vs the Flames as the Penguins have been held to one 5 vs 5 goal or less in seven straight games.

The Penguins are 28th in the NHL with 18 goals during 5 vs 5 play. Toronto is 1st with 36, Columbus 2nd with 33 and Tampa Bay is 3rd with 32 5 vs 5 goals.


— Following the 7-1 loss to the Jets, quite a few headlines going into Wednesday’s game was ‘What is wrong with the Penguins’.

The Penguins roster is not as built as well as it was or could be but they are fine.

If Steven Stamkos stays healthy, Tampa Bay should scare the heck of them in being a major matchup problem, but few others are matchup problems even with the Penguins personnel flaws and the 5 vs 5 scoring concerns.

Long-term the Penguins primary issue with their roster is how they’re built in the bottom-6.

Nick Bonino was not a great third line center and was inconsistent. But the difference between Bonino and what the Penguins are throwing out there right now in Riley Sheahan and Gregg McKegg/or Carter Rowney when healthy is that Bonino could create individual offense and high danger chances for his linemates.

Matt Cullen was the same way in that you basically had two third line caliber centers who could also step up if a Malkin or Crosby hit a slump.

Sheahan is a smart player but lacks ideal speed in a more skilled league than ever and is downright non-existent in providing offense, and other than a few flashes from McKegg in using his speed wide to beat defenders, you’re not going to get much from him either.

If you breakdown the roster, Pittsburgh is lacking at least one more winger with some scoring punch.

The center position in the bottom-6 still needs addressed with more scoring but an argument can be made the Penguins should also have an open mind on adding an impact winger in the top-9 by the deadline.


— The Penguins remain aware that Evgeni Malkin is privately fr Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"

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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