The Penguins on Monday night lost for the ninth time in 10 games, suffering a 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres.
Here are the Penguins on November 20th, currently playing at a 78 point pace.
Despite some positives in the loss that have to continue long-term if this team is going to have a chance to turn this thing around, such as the play of Derick Brassard/Tanner Pearson last night and the top-2 lines as a whole getting to the net-front effectively for the first part of the game, it’s hard to overlook how bad of a loss this was in blowing a 4-1 lead.
After the Penguins were in complete control of the game, Buffalo began to tilt momentum in the middle part of the second period and Pittsburgh never grasped it back.
They just couldn’t put any shifts together to stop the Sabres comeback and as the Sabres got it to 4-2 then 4-3, it was just a matter of time till it was going to be 4-4. Anyone in the building could sense it.
Beyond the top 6-7 players, this is a flawed roster with poor goaltending right now and blame can go all around.
The coaching staff for one is having a great deal of trouble to get this group to defend the right way, along with all parties involved showing an unwillingness to adjust based on in-game situations that are seeing the Penguins drop winnable games.
Are the Penguins dead?
No yet in a division where there’s little separation and some clubs are having a fluke start like the Islanders for one.
Most concerning with this group, though, isn’t what you see with them on the ice.
It’s the mentality they have after losses.
All championship runs start to see a slide, it’s the reality of sports, but less than two years removed from winning back-to-back Cups, where did the Championship mentality go with this group?
After the Ottawa game you have players in that room padding themselves on the back for the fight they had in the third period, a game that was over as they embarrassingly trailed 5-1 after forty minutes against a rebuilding team that was unanimously projected to be bottom-5 team in the league.
It’s not just the players. Jason Mackey of the Post-Gazette had comments from Jim Rutherford in today’s PG with Rutherford talking about how fast the Penguins looked in the third period vs the Senators.
I mean come on.
Surrendering four unanswered goals to the Sabres last night had a ton of “step in the right direction” talk in that room.Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"
Most concerning with this team is how quick this group has gone from having a Championship mentality to constantly touting moral victories.
This isn’t the Lebron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Phil Kessel and Kris Letang are still on this roster…….
Mike Sullivan is also handling this team currently playing at a 78 point pace with kid gloves. Sullivan had more “we’re getting better in a lot of areas” talk last night but “not getting results”.
It might be time for him to go the route of his mentor John Tortorella.
Sullivan is by no means on the hot seat but he has to find a way to start implementing adjustments/tweaks to the style of play that caters more to THIS slower roster and a lot of eyes will continue to be on how his message is getting received.
Right now that message looks to be getting tuned out. Want the Full Story? Get "Inside Access"