Middle of Nowhere, Minnesota, is not somewhere you want to be the day after Thanksgiving, let alone ever. The Pens 4-4-1 all-time record in St. Paul is evidence of this, and they promptly shit the bed there Friday afternoon, losing to the Wild 6-2.
If you’re ever going to shit the bed, might as well do it when everyone is either too busy Black Friday shopping or still dazed from their turkey-induced coma, I guess. The Penguins story right now goes like this: When they want to play and win, they can dominate. At the very least, there aren’t a lot of teams who can hang with them when they’re clicking, let alone be threats to beat them in a seven-game series. When they aren’t ready and don’t seem to care, you get performances like this one. It’s the way she goes right now, and if we learned anything from last season, we shouldn’t really care unless this stuff continues to happen down the stretch. For now, have another drumstick, Jack.
The Wild scored 40 seconds in and right away you knew this was going to be another shitshow in Minnesota. The Pens couldn’t handle the Wild forecheck at all in this game and that’s basically what led to their first goal. Brian Dumoulin lazily threw one up the boards, Parise cut it off and threw it to the net where Charlie Conway was to drive it home. Fleury maybe, probably, should have stopped it, but like 17 other things went wrong on the play for the Pens, so what the hell can you do — which would largely be the theme of the evening.
The Wild got another halfway through the first, this time on power play when Jonas Brodin tossed a wrist shot from somewhere in Wisconsin that made its way past Fleury. Another “yeah, but” moment for Fleury. Not his fault the Pens are in the box and nobody is moving the traffic in front, but you still have to feel like that’s one he should have.
The Pens showed some life when Jake The Snake beat Ryan Suter’s ghost to a puck in the corner. Malkin picked it up and found Kessel in front to make it 2-1.
600th career point for Kessel, which was about the only good thing that happened for the Pens from here on out.
For 15-minutes you felt if the Pens got the next goal, maybe there was a chance they claw back in the third. It’s been the theme for the season so far, and this one was shaping up that way again.
Instead, the Wild got the next two, and Mike Sullivan couldn’t stop staring at Matt Murray.
- Some guy who played in the ECHL for a few weeks and called a Sportsnet talk show once and now works graveyard shift for the Fan probably thinks the Pens are toast. Too bad they have like four months to learn from this.
- Only a matter of time for the Fleury trade talk. At least those Vegas jerseys will keep Fleury in back and gold.
- Devils Saturday night at PPG. Seems like the best possibly span of time in the schedule for a holiday to fall. Political talk with the in-laws actually doesn’t seem that horrible.