Thanks for getting our hopes up, Patric.
Even though the Penguins are still just 5 points back of 3rd place in the Metro with 2 games in hand and even though there’s still a long way to go this season and even though they aren’t totally fucked, something needs to change with this team.
Whether that change comes in the form of a personnel change or just a shift in mentality remains to be seen (it’s probably both at this point), but 2-7-1 in their last 10 is more of a problem than the bad bitches A$AP Rocky loves.
And last night was super emblematic of this season. The big guns got the Pens out ahead with an early goal only to be let down by 3 goals in just over 4 minutes to end the first period, leaving Murray hanging out to dry and leaving him to get yanked at the intermission.
The goals, too, were emblematic of this season as well. Full credit to the Sens for finishing off the plays, but it was the Penguins doing the damage to themselves to give Ottawa the chance to bury them.
First, it was a really bad Kessel turnover in the neutral zone that turned the Sens loose on a 3v2 as the D scrambled to get back into the play from a change behind the play. Sharp angle shot/pass-off-the-pads and it was 1-1.
Then came the totally normal and fine defensive breakdown (/s) with Dumo and Brassard working down low to try to slow down the cycle. As Dumo pursued White, Jack Johnson decided to leave his post to chase a needless hit as he’s been doing all damn season. In doing so, it left Mark Stone all alone in front to screen and deflect the Thomas Chabot shot by Murr. Nothing Murr could do there to keep it 1-1.
Then came another Johnson miscue as the Sens broke the puck out of theur zone. There’s not a single player on the Pens that’s a slower skater than Jack Johnson, so why he thinks he can skate in from 30 feet to pinch there as the forwards are changing is beyond understanding. Watch this clip- the touch pass back to the middle to beat his molasses-esque pinch and subsequent zone exit, you can literally see the rest of the forwards going to the bench. Unreal levels of bad. He leaves Letang hanging out to dry with 2 forwards trying to jump back in and break up the 3v1, but even Letang and Murr can’t do anything to shut down a give-and-go. 3-1.
Things did not go any better for Casey The Smith, who had to pull the puck out of his own net twice himself in the 2nd period in the span of 46 seconds, including a shorthanded goal and a goal by Cody fucking Ceci.
First, Maatta pisses the puck away to Mark Stone in the neutral zone on the PP to spring him for a breakaway.
Then, ZAR gets the puck knocked off his stick in the d-zone as picks up the loose puck and tries to skate it out. Still, the Pens had 5 guys in the D-zone to the Sens 2, but none of those 5 could be bothered to pick up Cody goddamn Ceci. 5-1.
At 5-1 heading into the 3rd, they finally pulled their heads from their asses a bit, but even for this team against that team, it’s too little too late. But even in doing so and pulling it back to 5-3, their heads went right back up their asses, giving the puck away yet again to kill the game off themselves.
On an easy-peasy breakout, Brassard turned to hit Dumo trailing, but missed the pass completely and put Dumo in a world of pain, getting double teamed and turning the puck over. Ruhwedel jumps and is beat by the pass, giving Duchene a free breakaway. 6-3.
Mental errors will sink even the best teams and it was mental errors that continue to sink this team. It sucks. It’s frustrating. And it can be summed up in only one possible way:
Big week ahead as Buffalo and Dallas come to town on Monday and Wednesday before a Black Friday matchup in Boston and a Saturday showdown at home against Columbus. Putting together a little run against Eastern Conference opposition will help right the ship. Do it. Go Pens.