Florida 6 – Pittsburgh 2
The Pittsburgh Penguins (26-16-1) lacked urgency in Saturday’s 3-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning and the team talked about getting off to a strong start against Florida on Sunday and the Penguins did exactly that.
Pittsburgh jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals from Tyler Kennedy (7) and Sidney Crosby (24) but again failed to put together a 60 minute game as the Florida Panthers scored 6 unanswered goals en route to a 6-2 victory.
The Penguins losing streak has now reached a season high five games as Pittsburgh went 0-for-4 on a four game road road trip that included blowing leads of 3-0 and 2-0 in two of four games.
In the midst of a five game losing streak and loses in 6 of 7 games, star center Evgeni Malkin took the blame for the Penguins struggles today.
Malkin the reigning NHL scoring champion was a minus-4 in Sunday’s loss, his sixth negative rating in the last seven games.
However, a growing concern for Malkin has been his inability to score at the pace this season that he has been accustomed too in his career.
Malkin is on pace for a career low 27 goals and is getting little help from the likes of Ruslan Fedotenko.
Dan Bylsma has tried a number of different combinations and nothing is workin. Pittsburgh’s hopes of defending their title will rest on the shoulders of getting Malkin back at being one of the games most dominant players.
Malkin admitted that he’s playing nervous and he just doesn’t look comfortable on the power play or with his linemates.
Management is in the process of evaluating all options.
*Pittsburgh’s top pairing of Brooks Orpik and Kris Letang were a combined minus-6 in the game. Orpik is a minus-5 in his past two games as the Penguins struggles in the D-zone continue.
*There was some surprise that Dan Bylsma went back to Marc Andre Fleury today with the Penguins playing 3 games in four nights. Fleury struggled making 29 saves on 34 shots.
*Max Talbot played a full game at center for the first time this season. Sidney Crosby was 13-of-17 on faceoffs.
*The Penguins struggles on the power play continued. Pittsburgh was 0-for-4 against Florida.
*Sergei Gonchar missed his second consecutive game with a foot injury. Gonchar is regarded as a day-to-day and there is no fracture in his foot, according to a team source.
Eric Godard was a healthy scratch for the fourth consecutive game.