Though this is the first week this season the Pittsburgh Penguins have not had a pair of games back to back, it is no excuse for their poor play.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have had poor 5V5 play and their defense is giving up too many goals.
The five-on-five play of the Penguins of late has been far from pretty. In the last 10 games they have been outscored by their opponents 35-23. The Penguins are struggling scoring on even strength play. In the same 10 games, eight of their 23 goals have been either on the power play or short handed. 35 percent of the penguins goals have come from the power play. In order to be contenders this year, the Penguins are going to have to step up and score more goals during even strength game play.
The defense on the other hand has not been up to expectations thus far either. Kris Letang, franchise defenseman and on the number one pairing is having a great offensive season, but is struggling with the play in his own zone. Through 20 games the alternate captain has one goal and 13 assists (1-13-14) and is a minus 13. Letang is committing to hard in the offensive zone, which allows the opposing team to have an odd man rush. Though I mention Letang, he is not the only one allowing these chances. The Penguins are receiving an unbelievable amount of offensive production from the guys that stand close to the blue line. The high production from the blue liners has a lot to do with them pinching in on the offensive zone.
Not to Worry
A slow start shouldn’t scare anyone, as mentioned before. the Penguins play 12 of the next 15 games on home ice. This year at home, the Penguins are 6-0-1. Now is really the time for them to start running away with the division. 10-4-1 is a fair prediction for the next 15 games.
Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin have been hot all year and both Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary are starting to ride a point streak.