What an 0-2 Start Means for the Penguins
The Pittsburgh Penguins off to an 0-2 start, were outscored 11-5 in the two game series vs the Flyers.
It’s not panic time just yet, but in a 56 game season, a big two game series with the Washington Capitals (2-0-0, 4 pts) awaits.
If Pittsburgh starts the season 0-4, you could really see the wheels start to the fall off. The good thing is maybe this could be the perfect year to get a lottery pick.
Improvements in key areas in Friday’s Loss But are we seeing the same story?
Some players like Brandon Tanev for instance said the team played a great game in the season opener, I surely wasn’t see the same game, but the Penguins were indeed much improved in some key areas in Friday’s 5-2 loss. They can pat themselves on the back after that one.
I thought we were the better team tonight,” said Mike Sullivan. “We couldn’t convert on ours [chances].”
The eye test matched the analytics. Even prior to falling down 3-0, Pittsburgh possessed the puck well for much of the game, controlled the play for long stretches, and a key area they were much improved was in the neutral zone. They were more effective in bottling the Flyers up and turning defense into offense.
Minus the Brandon Tanev turnover on the rush in the third period, the third line was really good again.
But, are we seeing the same story with this group as a whole already?
5 vs 5 #'s
PIT 61 CF% | PHI 39 CF%
PIT 61 SCF% | PHI 39 SCF%
PIT 59 HDCF% | PHI 41 HDCF%
5 vs 5 GOALS FOR
PHI 3 – PIT 1
This is a perimeter team that isn’t blessed with a lot of great finishers. Key number from Friday’s loss is Pittsburgh being outscored 3-1 during 5-on-5 play.
“We just couldn’t find that tying goal,” said Sullivan.
There has to be a worry that there’s going to be more nights than not where the Penguins play fast, control the puck well and you come out of it saying the team didn’t make it hard on the opposing goaltender. It was the story in the second half of last season/bubble. I think we’re going to see it again this season. Look at their roster, they look like a bunch of string beans skating around that are not effective in the tough areas.
Pre-Game Adjustments/Lack of in-game adjustments
Why did the Penguins start the season with Mike Matheson in a Number 2 pairing role? As one Penguins source said ‘That’s what the GM wanted’. Why did the Penguins sign Cody Ceci? As the same Penguins source said ‘That’s what the GM wanted’.
We saw two changes on the blueline Friday night with Chad Ruhwedel replacing Cody Ceci in the lineup and Mike Matheson moving back to the third pair.
Matheson wasn’t the train-wreck he was in Game 1, so that was a positive I guess.
Ruhwedel played well, recording 3 shots, 2 blocked shots in 15:23 of ice time. He’ll probably get scapegoated for the tripping penalty in period one that saw the Flyers strike on the power play, but his presence in the lineup was a positive.
Ruhwedel led all defenseman with 3 shots, was smart with his pinches in the neutral zone, and was on the ice for zero power play goals against in 3:05 of shorthanded time.
Those lineup decisions from Sullivan had an impact.
What had an impact in a negative way was the lack of in-game adjustments.
With Kasperi Kapanen out, the Penguins decided they wanted to spread their lines out and put Evan Rodriques in the top right wing spot by default till Kapanen is back. I get that, but in a game your trailing, playing Rodrigues with Crosby for the entire night just doesn’t cut it. Evgeni Malkin was a dud again, Sullivan would not have been doing a disservice by taking one of Malkin’s wings away from him.
Crosby played just 13 seconds with Rust and 7 seconds with Zucker. Heck, even give Malkin a shift with Crosby.
— Tristan Jarry has a .709 save percentage through two games. He better find his game quickly. The Penguins can’t be waiting until Game 8 or 10 for him to show up. The positioning is the issue right now. He’s not sound with his side to side movement and he looks small in goal right now as shooters see openings upstairs.
— One former NHL player on Evgeni Malkin — “He doesn’t want to get hit”
— Kris Letang To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
Three guesses how many first round picks were traded in the McKinnon and McDavid drafts league-wide.
While there are complete fucken losers continuing to pretend a play for either could have been made for a guy that was a major part of the two cups in 16/17 the fact remains that no one was trading their picks especially when they were bottom feeders
This team plays better when Letang is not in the line up. Been this way for a few years.
Letang stinks and sadly we are stuck with him
The Penguins should have traded Craig Adams to the Oilers for their number 1 pick (McDavid) when they had the chance.
Your boss should’ve traded you to dunkin donuts
I believe Sam thought it was Malkin, who he hated, for McKinnon, McDavid, Matthews and Stuetzle
If they are out of contention after 30 games I would listen calls on any player not named Crosby and see what is out there. I would also not part with their 2022 first round pick or any pick for that matter. I would also give JR his walking papers. This team is not built to win anymore and trading away more picks to plug holes is a waste. What goes up must come down. The fire in this team is out. It needs all new blood.
I’ve forgotten. Did they trade their #1 in the next draft ?
It was either last year or this year so the opted to give Minn this years pick figuring they were going to draft in the late 20’s. This will backfire big time. They traded last yrs first for Kappy.
Jersey looks not too bad actually. Lots of kids so they could surprise. Pittsburgh is in trouble
7 of 11… for those who are still willing to excuse Letang, whose been getting worse defensively for years as he continues to chase pucks he shouldn’t in the offensive zone… those numbers is how many goals he was on the ice for vs the Flyers to start the year
Hopefully this team can either make the playoffs this year without using futures to do so, or trade current assets and garbage contracts to bring a quick turnaround. Get rid of Matheson and Letang at all costs ffs.
Once again you idiot……LOL Letang will not be traded (especially by Lemieux) or it would have happened already. What idiot beside you and Rutherford would take Matheson’s contract… He is younger, can skate, has a cannon of a shot, but no confidence.
Letang simple will not change..
The only place i could see Letang going is Montreal and Im not sure what we get back….
It’s so demoralizing knowing that Lemieux is going to ride the core to the bitter end. He’ll never move his French buddy Letang or Malkin. I’m a huge Malkin fan but it’s clear the guy just doesn’t have the desire anymore. Crosby deserves another cup and Rutherford needs to build around him and that’s gonna require moving some of the core.
What would you want for Malkin? Im open to moving him, but I’d want a couple firsts and a high end prospect.
I still contend the biggest hole in the roster is a legit top pairing LH dman.
The biggest hole in this roster is the defense period. That and a lack of desire to win.
Well said..Well said
Now look at these clowns open to ship Malkin. When they should’ve have few years ago for Nathan. Or mcdavid pick when he was still in prime
Now good luck getting anything good for him.
Since you droolers are delusional hey maybe penguins can get Matthews since its clear he won’t be with the leafs in the long term and can replace Malkin with his undesired plays and his playoff vacations
I’ve missed you Sam
The oilers were not trading their number 1 pick for Malkin or anyone else for McDavid. They are not Montreal. If they traded Malkin for Nathan there is no guarantee they would won back to back cups. You really show how stupid and trollish you are. You push buttons just to be a shitt stirrer bc you have no life.
Nathan doesn’t take dumb penalties like the Russian and kills the team. Momentum You really think Nathan wasnt enough for penguins win the Stanley Cup. You are such clown. Stick to making donuts buddy
You forgot already how the Russians penalty cost the penguins series last year when the habs made a comeback on their lead won the game and then the series
The only player who showed up for that series was Hornqvist. End of story. Nice try troll.
Malkin 3 time Stanley Cup winner, 4 Stanley Cup appearances, 1 SC MVP…
This is how it goes you troll. Players get older and produce less. And they are 9 yrs apart and NM is entering his prime.
Trust me oilers are a dumb organization. Mcdavid will never win the cup in oilers uniform.
They change coaches like they change underwears I lost count how many GM and coaches they changed since they went to the final in 06
Says the Montreal fan boy who’s team chased out one of the NHL’s greatest goalies ever. That is a dumb organization. How did that work out for them? McDavid would never have been traded for anyone in the NHL. You love to make up the most outrageous trade scenarios they were never even a remote possibility and pass them along as facts to forward your trolling agenda. Go find more reasons to slurp up Letang’s pitiful play.
Not happening bro….he isn’t worth that anymore especially with that hefty salary…..You want alot of things?
If you could get a good nhl player in return and maybe a second…take it and run…
I’d be open to it but I wanna see him hit a hot streak before we do to preserve some value.
Agree 100% what you just said spot on…..Malkin just doesn’t have it anymore…
Maybe Letang goes to his French Canadien home Montreal? That is about the only place I see him going….if anywhere
I miss 2x Stanley Cup Winner Matt Murray
Even a Canadian hero like Matt Murray couldn’t overcome the deficiencies of Letang the last 3 years.
Murray’s opening night with the sens.
magic number was 4 last night I bet that was letang’s fault too
Keep covering for your boy toy. I hope he get’s traded to Montreal.
No you don’t
Oh look who is here
Go follow Ottawa insider then
Same was right jarry ain’t ready yet.
I guess I was right when I said after Fleury team will have hard time to find a good stable goalie.
Fleury was anything but stable. Terrible defense leads to an overly exposed goalie. JR built a winner and then single handedly destroyed it with terrible trades and signings. They will not go any where with defensive group. Letang should have been traded after the second cup run. Ceci was a mistake and so was Matheson. He replaced JJ with two JJ’s and Letang is turning into JJ. See a trend here. JR needs to go now!
Fleury is stable? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
You mean the backup goalie for Vegas?
We gonna do this to Malkin again? As he ages you’ll get closer to being right but you did the same last year and he was pretty good most of the year.
Letang on the other hand? BS or no BS he is getting worse.
Nothing is Letang’s fault. It is everyone else’s fault. Why is this so hard to understand.
They both simply aren’t playing to their capabilities and talent level. Both lack intelligence and Malkin lacks intelligence and desire…man he was good once upon a time..