Pittsburgh Penguins: 3 Reasons Why They Lose 3rd Period Leads

Nov 24, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) waits for the face-off during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 24, 2023; Buffalo, New York, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) waits for the face-off during the first period against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports /
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PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – NOVEMBER 22: Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save on a shot by Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers in the second period during the game at PPG PAINTS Arena on November 22, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA – NOVEMBER 22: Tristan Jarry #35 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save on a shot by Mika Zibanejad #93 of the New York Rangers in the second period during the game at PPG PAINTS Arena on November 22, 2023 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

1. The Pittsburgh Penguins Defensive Collapses

Suppose you pinpointed defensive collapse as the primary culprit for the Penguins’ 3rd period leads slipping away. In that case, you’ve hit the nail on the head.

This aspect is at the heart of my frustration with the team. The issues are manifold: from failed takeaways to a sluggish return on defense, from consistently losing the race to the net to a lack of physicality in crucial moments. These problems aren’t just isolated incidents; they’re symptoms of a larger defensive malaise.

Let’s break it down further:

  • Strategic Positioning and Anticipation: The Penguins often seem a step behind in anticipating opponents’ moves. Improving strategic positioning on the ice and fostering a more proactive defensive mindset could be key.
  • Physicality and Engagement: Physical engagement, particularly in the 3rd period, is essential. The Penguins need to ramp up their intensity and assertiveness in one-on-one battles and in front of the net.
  • Effective Communication and Teamwork: Defense is as much about communication as it is about physical skill. The team needs to work on their on-ice communication, ensuring every player is aware of their role and the positioning of their teammates.
  • Conditioning and Stamina: Lastly, the physical condition of the players cannot be overlooked. The team’s conditioning program should be evaluated to ensure players can maintain high energy and focus throughout the game, especially in the final period.

Addressing these defensive shortcomings could dramatically alter the team’s trajectory. It’s not just about tweaking tactics; it’s about a holistic reevaluation of the Penguins’ defensive approach. With these changes, we could see a significant turnaround in both the team’s record and the nature of discussions among the fan base.

Next. 5 Penguins Players We’re Thankful for. dark