Tuesday’s Penguins Buzz
Involved in three straight one-goal games, the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken five out of a possible six points without Sidney Crosby to start the season.
There’s no sign of a Stanley Cup hangover.
What there are signs of is undisciplined stick penalties and giving up far too many high quality scoring chances.
“It’s early in the season and our coaching staff understands that, but we have to continue to make strides as a team to play away from the puck,” head coach Mike Sullivan said after Monday’s 4-3 OT loss. “I know we’re going to create scoring opportunities and I know we’re going to score goals. We have to keep the puck out of our net and cut the quality of these chances down.”
What derailed the Penguins from getting a regulation win last night vs the Avalanche was penalties. The Penguins were in complete control of the game in the first period in jumping out to a 2-0 lead and 11/5 edge in shots mid-way through the period.
Three stick penalties, Olli Maatta and Chris Kunitz for hooking, Nick Bonino for tripping, halted the Penguins momentum from burying the Avalanche in the first twenty minutes.
More stick penalties that drive coaches’ nuts continued in the third period with three more, highlighted by Evgeni Malkin tripping Erik Johnson in the neutral zone that resulted in Gabriel Landeskog’s game tying goal on the power play 18 seconds later.
“We’ve got to be more responsible with our sticks,” Sullivan said. “We can’t put ourselves in position where we give the referees the opportunity to make those type of calls.”
How will the Penguins handle Olli Maatta moving forward?
Not even three full games into the season and Mike Sullivan had seen enough of the Olli Maatta – Trevor Daley pairing in breaking the pairing up in the second period of Monday night’s game.
“Well, we broke them up halfway through the game, so that probably answers your question,” Sullivan said when asked by a reporter after the game about the pairing.
Maatta only played 12:49 last night and at times in the third period the coaches went with five defensemen. He’s also not being used on the PK.
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