It was a meltdown for the Penguins Tuesday night, falling to the Ottawa Senators 5-1 on home ice, dropping their 5th straight game. The team was lifeless when it counted and by the time they showed some life after Evgeni Malkin's second period goal, it was to late.
The Penguins have scored six goals in their last five games and anyone can see that number and realize you're not going to win hockey games with those type of numbers.
The high percentage shots are still missing and they were again vs Ottawa.
Injuries can be attributed to the Penguins struggles offensively but this isÃ‚Â still a team that has Evgeni Malkin and four former 20-goal scorers aside from Malkin in their lineup in James Neal, Chris Kunitz, Tyler Kennedy and Steve Sullivan, and former 15+ goal scorers in the likes of Pascal Dupuis. This isn't the 2003-2004 Penguins out there by any means.
Malkin is doing his part of late but Neal is pointless in his last five games, and Kunitz has one goal in his last seven games, which isn't helping matters. Both will soon get to their games. It's hard to be confident to say the same thing about Kennedy and Sullivan.
Kennedy's been back long enough that the concussion excuse for him needs to start going away and Sullivan continues to bring absolutely nothing to the table at even strength and is no longer a top-6 winger.
BREAKING DOWN DEFENSIVE MISCUES
Pittsburgh is a mess fundamentally from a defensive standpoint, which has been the big surprise. Subpar goaltending and defensive breakdowns plagued the Penguins once again.
"We hung both our goalies out to dry, " defenseman Ben Lovejoy said who was front and center among those Penguins having an awful night vs Ottawa.
Some of the Penguins issues are easily fixable if everyone gets committed to playing defense and showing more effort. Players are not going to their spots and on Ottawa's first goal where Chris Neil had two cracks at the puck is a prime example of that.
How the play developed: Evgeni Malkin was the first forward back and as the center his No. 1 responsibility is to go help down low. Malkin instead took a swoop down the right boards and headed towards the blueline like he was waiting for a breakout pass. That left a 3-on-2 advantage for Ottawa down low and instead of holding the post like he should have and taking Neil, Lovejoy took Turris in front and by the time Cooke tried to cover for Malkin coming down from his left wing side, Neil had two easy swipes at the puck for the goal. It also wouldn't have hurt if Brent Johnson threw a poke check in there either.
On the Senators second goal, a great individual play from Nick Foligno, Pittsburgh got beat defensively when the Senators came down the ice 2-on-5. It was a defensive breakdown highlighted by several players getting caught watching the puck carrier.
What went wrong: Tyler Kennedy trailing the play slows down not attacking the puck carrier and backing off when he should have done soÃ‚Â due to the Penguins having players back. By Kennedy backing off, it turns into a 1-on-1 situation and Foligno looks like Claude Giroux turning Lovejoy inside out and makes a great feed to Bobby Butler for the goal.
Another key breakdown on the play: Butler beat Eric Tangradi to the net who got caught watching the puck carrier and was lazy on the play letting Butler get by, something that a young player looking to make a name for himself can't let happen.
CLAMPING DOWN DEFENSIVELY
To turn things around it's going to start defensively and what I took out of Bylsma's media session Tuesday night is that's where the focus is turning to going into Wednesday's game against Washington.