The Pittsburgh Penguins may have won game 4 last night, but there are still questions that need to be answered and problems that need to be fixed.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have found offence when they need it, but one thing’s apparent–it has only been coming in the final frames of the game.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have won games 1 and 4 in this series through scoring in the second and third periods. They’ve scored in these period in games 3 and 4 as well, despite their losses. They may have scored during these periods, but they have not been able to score in the first period at all this season.
The Importance of the First Period
We need to figure out how to score in the first period and we need to get consistent at it. The first period is where we set the tone for the entire game. We need the ice tilt to go our way, otherwise we’ll already give our opponents dominance.
Sure, we’ve come back against the Capitals before in this series, but we need to figure out how to take the lead right off the bat. If we can do that and get the ice tilted in our favour early on, we’ll have an even better chance at securing victories.
Last Season’s Issue
The struggle to score in the first period isn’t just a current problem. The Penguins struggled to score just like this year in last year’s playoffs as well.
In fact, during last year’s second round series against the Washington Capitals, the Penguins only scored in the first period in 2 out of 7 of the games. The problem was apparent then and it’s definitely apparent now. It really makes you think–what’s the issue?
Stars Not Coming Through
The Penguins offence needs to get going. Known playoff performers like Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have come through, but others like Phil Kessel and Carl Hagelin have been having difficulties.
As Shandi Pace pointed out this week, Phil Kessel has been almost invisible these playoffs, with six points in the entire playoffs (only one of them being a goal) and having no goals in the last five games.. Now we can’t blame it all on him, but he is an example of the fact that many of our stars and supporting cast need to help out offensively.
There is Still Hope
The Penguins can still bounce back however, as we did last season. After we regained our bearings, we ended up winning the Cup. I wouldn’t say this is a pressing issue, but it’s definitely something that we need to work on.