Penguins – Blackhawks Fallout
There was a buildup coming into Wednesday night’s Penguins – Blackhawks game that it was a very important to start for Marc Andre Fleury and that momentum was on Fleury’s side that he could very well unseat Matt Murray to be the starter in the playoffs.
I’ll say it again…..There is no open competition in goal as to who’s going to be the starter for the beginning of the playoffs and it is only being driven by the Fleury crowd among the fan base, media and maybe a small fraction of the Penguins organization who would like to see it.
Outside of the media/fan base, is there some in the Penguins organization who want to see a storybook ending and Fleury regain the No. 1 job? Yes, there is, but this isn’t the Pirates organization where the Team President dictates roster, lineup decisions.
If Fleury would have had a shutout last night, it still would not have moved the needle into his direction.
Matt Murray is the No. 1 and Fleury is the backup. That’s not a knock on Fleury, it’s just the reality of the situation for Fleury who has not made consecutive starts since a two game stretch months ago when Murray was injured. (Dec 31, 2016 /Jan 8, 2017)
Mike Sullivan has been fully committed to Murray as his No. 1 goaltender since last spring and he’s not just going to go away from Matt Murray who led the Penguins in goal to a Stanley Cup and is currently 5th in the NHL in save percentage among goaltenders who have appeared in at least 45 games, over a couple weeks of inconsistent play.
Until Murray implodes in the playoffs, there’s just no story here.
Similar Issues plague undermanned Penguins
The Penguins know first hand how important momentum is going into the post-season. They rode it all the way to a Stanley Cup last season and the same in 2009.
With six games remaining, the focus for the Penguins shouldn’t be all about getting home-ice in a likely 2-3 Round 1 matchup. A bigger priority now should be making sure guys are healthy/fresh going into Round 1 and the most important thing is the Penguins getting some of their swagger back over the next week and a half before the playoffs.
“We understand that some of the guys we have out of our lineup are difficult to replace. They’re good players. We understand that. But we also believe we have what it takes to win. That’s where our focus needs to be,” Mike Sullivan said after the Penguins’ 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks.
The team is just looking a little dull right now, not playing with a lot of energy and speed.
Sunday night was just a really bad performance from the Penguins in all facets. Wednesday night vs Chicago was a bit different. The Penguins were outplayed but not by the significant wide margin the 5-1 score might indicate.
The Penguins were undermanned talent wise against the Western Conference leading Blackhawks and what this game came down to was the Blackhawks converted on their high quality scoring chances and the Penguins didn’t.
Pittsburgh didn’t produce the high amount of odd-man rushes the Blackhawks did but the overall scoring chances were there on the Penguins side to potentially make this a track meet.
Self inflicted wounds just haunted the Penguins from being competitive on the scoreboard.
Justin Schultz had another rough game with a failed pinch leading to the late Marian Hossa goal in the first period that put a dagger in the Penguins and Schultz is just over-extended right now in a No. 1 pairing role and trying to do too much.
In the third period, Schultz turned the puck over just inside the Blackhawks blueline leading to a breakaway goal the other way. Also, the adrenaline rush of the Wilkes Barre defenders giving the Penguins positive play is wearing off which should have been expected.
Phil Kessel’s Free Pass
Upfront Pittsburgh did get some things they wanted in the top line of Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary driving possession/chances, while Bryan Rust who was removed from the top line after the first period, scored the Penguins lone goal and was one of the more active players in creating offense by getting to the high danger areas. Rust used his speed well vs the Blackhawks.
Crosby, Sheary and Rust combined for 11 shots during 5 vs 5 play.
Aside from those three, there wasn’t a lot to like from the forward group.
I thought again the Penguins could have used Josh Archibald’s speed and energy on the 4th line against a skating team like the Blackhawks.
With Nick Bonino cooling off the last couple nights, this injury situation is where you should be able to count on Phil Kessel to elevate his game but that hasn’t been the case. Kessel was invisible again vs Chicago and has 1 goal in his last 20 games.
Kessel won himself a free pass To read this insider news, subscribe to get “Inside Access”!
Mentally weak Murray crumbles again with 12 seconds left. Sad!
Glad to see the boys from the short bus getting access to a computer. Anyways, nice win. Hopefully Chicago can do us a favor here and knock off the jackets. It puts a playoff vibe on that cbj game. Having that extra home game would be nice, especially considering Murray is 15-3 there this year. I guess that, nor playoff performance, warrants him starting though, so why bother making sense?
I don’t know about all that, all I know I I’ve seen enough of Wilson 😉 lol
Having a legit NHL defenceman like Hainsey back didn’t hurt either. It’s too bad they allowed the rags back but there was a lot to like about the idea that a healthy roster should look a lot better at this point.
Ugh I wish Kessel would stop shutting off late in the season
It’s interesting that both him and Sid beat Henry five hole. He’s usually more beatable up high. The crosby goal was filthy.
You could see 87 fooled the $hit out of Hank in the SO. He was guessing – as was everyone else on the planet – forehand shot.
87 hasn’t shot back-hand on a break away since 1994.
Phil Kessel is a Stanley Cup Championship
Positive side for Murray pens no longer need 5 in order to win for him. Back to 4 now. Safe to say he is now ready for playoffs
Murray slamming the door in the 3rd period.
Per Steve from Forest Hills
How’s the family Dustin?
Get a few bodies back and the team starts looking more dangerous already. Getting Geno and Letang back will be huge, just hope they can amp it up quickly in the first round… that and Letang has to figure out how to stay healthy for potentially two months which is a monumental ask.
It would be nice if they could get a game or two under their belt before the playoffs, but anything would help. Sullivan confirmed Letang will be back. Let’s hope geno is 100% asap as I think with a full lineup, we can handle the jackets.
Especially if they look like this. I like Rust on Kessels line… leaves room for Hagelin to play with Malkin and Kunitz to play on the fourth. Unless Kunitz can find some offence with Malkin
Murray looking sharper here tonight too. Glove hasn’t let him down early. Kind of shocked he’s playing a team like NY, as you are aware “Sully the cockk sucker” shelters Murray from good teams
Good response from Kessel after all the criticism, would be nice to see some finish though
Hey npl how is your #BlackCocksMatter. Movement going on lately. Oops my bad exposed the liberals secret I meant #BlackLivesMatter movement to pretend being polite on the media
That joke sucked black c0ck
Pens will need 5 tonight in order to win for Murray
So another season passes and we’ve learned nothing new. Fleury is still a mental midget, Letang is giant tampon and Phat Phil has quit already.
Blow it up… especially Phil. Tired of him quitting early all the time
Two years in a row.
Fun fact: Crosby is 4th in the NHL in points per game…
Beau Bennett’s health > Kris Letang’s health
Malkin’s annual vacation > Parise annual Vacation
Parise that con artists just took a 1 week vacation
Florida attendance > Quebec attendance
That is sad quebec not having a team and Florida having a team with same attendance it’s sad really sad I’m glad you noticed Florida fat slobs are nothing but a bunch of bandwagons
Yea, and its sad too.
Can you imagine how bad it smells in Le Mausolee Bell when you heard up a bunch of french people that haven’t bathed in a week and ask them to watch a hockey game in and amongst 20,000 people’s collective stench? Has to be like the day after the circus left town.
I tough bell center is always empty according to your stupid pregame picture that you post
It wasn’t pre-game – and you know it. Best (bandwagons) in the world!
Wait… is one of these an insult? both? I am not sure what is happening here…
Pretty disheartening that people want to politicize the investigation of the Trump campaigns involvement in Russia’s meddling of the election. No American should be ok with this. Right, Stan?
I saw your girl Hillary met with Russia when reading online yesterday – I see you’ve yet to comment. Riddle me this – all this smoke re: Trump / Russia – where’s the fire? I mean this is going on four months of this shitt – you guys ever gonna find anything?
Well, if its on the internet… The the Putin prop’s non definitive statement must be true. Either way, must not have been very productive since Russia’s meddling was clearly designed to sway voters in Trumps favor. And when you ask, “you guys ever gonna find anything” do you mean the FBI or the bipartisan senate committee who cited substantial concerns and have each opened up investigations? Open your eyes babe. #CountryOverParty
Is that what they found? Concerns? Oh the horror! Curious though – in all seriousness – where were your concerns when CNN was not only accused, but caught red handed of “meddling” in the election? Oddly silent. I mean – there was actually substance there. Oh well – #CountryOverParty
What about Hillary’s sale of uranium to Russia? Discuss.
Nonsense – Russia would never deal with Hillary. And amazingly, even if they would, we don’t care because she’s not “Hitler.” Whatever that means.
Even the smallest amount of research would show that deal – which needs to go through NINE department heads, including Secretary of State – was approved before well before Clinton was named Secretary.
And for the record, Hillary sucks and i dont associate with either party. Each has large factions that are too devoted with the party’s agenda that they are willing to turn a blind eye on serious issues like the President of the United States working with a foreign adversary to influence an election.
I dont read Russian propoganda, so no idea what this is in reference to.
Finally! Thank you.
Fascinating, the Pens are down 9 players from their starting line up including Geno and Letang and it is being wondered why they can’t compete vs. teams like the Hawks?
Lol very true. Then everyone debates which goalie is the reason why we sew losing. Smh
Of course that’s absolutely the case. Add 4 NHL D back and they both look much better. I’m still worried about Murrays glove but I’d rather see him work it out
I thought it was because the “swagger” of the cup champs was gone – not that they were missing 9 players…
Kessel =Fraud. Where is he when team needs him. I don’t know which one is worst one going in annual vacation or one that is on the ice taking roster spot doing nothing and get paid like a 1st liner
I’ll tell you where he’s not…sitting in the press box sipping wine while with BO and pit stains. Like some french pusssy that’s missed 40 games.
Where is he when the team needs him? He led them in scoring during the playoffs last year. I’d say they needed him then. I’ll wait for the season starting in April response, as you aren’t capable of correctly addressing the comment.
No debate, just thumbs down.
You’ll need to call the thumbs down crew. Tbj,stain and npl .those 3 fat Democrats won’t waste anytime and get back to their usual work by thumbs downing people with their several accounts paid by the tax payers
nothing worse than game 77 coming up with a playoff spot clinched and 30 million dollars worth of injuries. i’m heading back to dagobah until the playoffs begin.
Game 1 in the playoffs and 30 million in injuries would be worse. Hopefully we can get at least Malkin, Hagelin and some D back.
I’ve read a few times that Hagelin is the furthest away – still in a walking boot. Hainsey and Guentzel could be back tomorrow – game time decisions, but looking promising. Malkin and Letang apparently would be playing if these were playoff games. Maatta and Daley should be ready come playoff time. Again – based on what I’ve read more than once.
At this point, I don’t mind resting guys, especially if Columbus wins tonight. They would be 4 up with the same amount of games remaining.
Go pray for more injuries
Gotta appreciate the news of the Pirates “largely passive” approach to the Quintana sweeps. Always the bridesmaid – just the way they want it. “Well look! we tried!!”
Where’s Bunn to defend this?
SMH, if i was the white sox I would leak the Cards too…. guessing neither of you are businessmen, its ok. Don’t get me wrong, pissed he’d not wearing black and gold. 100% ok with 2 of 3 top prospects going…. any combination of glasnow, keller, meadows…. all 3 though is ridiculous.
Kris Letang’s pungent BO
It’s not swagger missing. It’s players missing.
Toews, canadian fraud.