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Insider Only Pre-season game 5: Post-Columbus Thoughts

Penguins fall to Blue Jackets 5-2
Columbus — The Pittsburgh Penguins (1-4) dropped their fourth consecutive game but the big news of the night was Sidney Crosby who left the game in the first period with a groin injury.
The injury is not believed to be serious and Crosby is regarded as day-to-day for now. He is expected to sit out tomorrow’s practice.
Crosby had three shifts totaling 1 minute, 37 seconds before he left the game.
*A very physical game. Over six fighting majors for the Penguins. Bissonnette (2), Kennedy (1), McKee (1), Engelland (1), Rupp (1)
*Pittsburgh struggled in their own end, clearing the front of the net and turned the puck over in the neutral zone. Columbus played a structured game, Pittsburgh didn’t.
*The Evgeni Malkin unit had good chemistry from the start. Tyler Kennedy and Malkin continue to play well off of each other.
Malkin scored at 13:33 of the first on an assist from Kennedy. They created a number of chances on the night and Steve Mason (26 saves) played really well. Malkin added an assist on Nate Guenin’s second period goal.
For the most part it wasn’t a strong game for bubble player

Chris Conner. He created a few chances in the first period but as the game became more physical, he was less noticable. It wasn’t an awful game but not the type of performance he needed. Jordan Staal didn’t help him out missing two prime opportunities in the slot.
*There’s not much I can say about Paul Bissonnette but the Penguins need to find a spot for him. Six teams had scouts in attendance and it’s going to be difficult to get him through waivers.
Bissonnette was 2-for-2 on the night in fights and was effective on the fore-check. He was trying to stir things up at every moment.
Another great effort by him.
Very disappointing night for the Penguins in their defensive zone. The Jordan Staal line (Cooke – Staal – Conner) was a combined -7 on the night, although the lines were mis-matched at times after Crosby left the game.
Defensively Jay McKee and Kris Letang (-2) struggled. Letang has not been consistent in the D-zone during the pre-season.
*Nate Guenin had another strong performance. Deryk Engelland was better but he’s a fringe NHL player. The Penguins don’t need to keep him around just to fight. Guenin is a much more complete defenseman and in my opinion he’s better on the PK but tonight the coaching staff used Engelland more than Guenin on the PK.
*Ray Shero felt the Penguins lost a lot of toughness following the Penguins 2008 Stanley Cup run and he made toughness a priority this summer in adding Michael Rupp and Jay McKee.
more to come

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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