It is becoming an all too familiar storyline in the Steel City. Once thought to have a dynasty in the making, led by two of the leagues brightest and most dominant young stars, the Penguins are now perrinial playoff disappointments.
Wednesday night was no different. The Pittsburgh Penguins came out of the gate and absolutely dominated. They scored three goals in five minutes. The asserted their will and looked poised to take home a three to one advantage in the series.
Instead, the Penguins once again proved that disappointment is truly their greatest talent.
Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have yet to score a single goal ...
When teams have a two goal lead, the announcers like to bring up the old adage that this is the hardest lead in hockey to hang on to.
They might have a point.
In three games between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, the team with the two goal lead in the game has gone on to lose said game by a score of 4-3. Pittsburgh was victorious in games one and three, Columbus won game two.
For the first time in this series the special teams were not special. There was not a single power play or shorthanded goal scored in this game despite ten combined power play chances.
Here are a few observations so far from this series.
Columbus beat the Penguins for the first time this season thanks to a valiant double overtime effort in game two.
The Blue Jackets once again used their special teams to their advantage. When Pittsburgh used four forwards on the Power Play, Columbus pressured hard. They were able to score their second shorthanded goal of the series, this one at the expense of a poor decision by Evgeni Malkin.
The game was not a strong one for the Penguins, but it certainly is not a series killer. Tied at one apiece, the Penguins are forced to assert themselves on the road against a confident young team. If Pittsburgh wants to play the series clinching game at home on Saturday, here are a few a...
Penguins – The Penguins are the more talented team in this match up and it isn’t all that close. Pittsburgh is a very lucky team in terms of talent.
They will have a healthy Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, something questioned last season with Crosby coming off a broken jaw. Pittsburgh has a legitimate top six on the back end this season. It currently looks like the only player that will miss significant time in the playoffs is Marcel Goc and his return can be as early as next week.
(Disclaimer, this is not including Pascal Dupuis who is out from ACL surgery in February, there is no possible way he can return this season)
Daniel Spevak is a writer for The Checking Line - Flyers Edition. This is a part of a multi-part series breaking down the potential finalists for the NHL's annual awards.
The Hart Trophy is awarded to the player deemed to be the most valuable each season.
While a lot of players fit the bill of being good and are capable of putting up statistics, only a handful fit the description of being the most valuable to their respective teams. Here are the players that have been keys to their club’s success.
Phil Kessel - Toronto Maple Leafs
Kessel has had quite the season. He’s tied for fifth in the league with 80 points, and has a career-hi...
In a brief and sudden press conference on Wednesday morning, Pittsburgh Penguins GM Ray Shero announced that defenseman Kris Letang will be returning to the lineup.
Letang, 26, suffered a stroke in January while the Penguins were on a road trip out west. It is important to note that once Letang had successfully underwent treatment, including blood thinners; he would be medically cleared to play.
“He's at no further risk to suffer a stroke playing hockey than going to grocery store.” Said Ray Shero at the press conference
He is correct in saying so. Letang has a heart condition that doesn’t change with elevated heart rates, unlike the heart condition...
It is a tough pill to swallow, knowing that your team no longer has a quality shot at a Stanley Cup.
With injuries hampering the return of a two top six forwards and a top four defensemen the Penguins are just not fully equipped to go through the rigors of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It is just not a feasible request.
To beat a team like the Boston Bruins or the Philadelphia Flyers without Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Paul Martin, the Penguins would have to have their depth come through in major ways. This is assuming the Penguins currently have the depth to pull this off.
Although Beau Bennett has returned and played well since his return, he is not enough. Pittsburgh ...
There is currently a movement in the city of Pittsburgh that is headstrong on firing coach Dan Bylsma. Despite having the most injuries in the league and the likely probability of finishing second in the conference, the fans seem to have had enough.
Enough, you hear it time and time again. The callers on talk radio say they have had enough of Dan Bylsma, that his system clearly doesn’t work.
Enough of the consistent playoff appearances despite the massive injuries this team has suffered in the recent seasons?
Enough of the team overachieving despite having a clear lack of back end talent left from subpar drafting strategies?
Mediocrity, it is certainly one way to describe the Penguins play of late.
Their wins can be broken down into simply taking advantage of what is in front of you, while their losses have come from little effort and lack of dictating play. Some claim it is the toll of so many injuries finally taking its toll on the team, others quote from the book of a post Olympic slump, but either way the team is not improving.
Or are they?
While it is an argument that is destined to fall on deaf ears of aggravated fans, the Penguins are in a better position than they have been the past three seasons.
At 6-5-1 in March the Penguins are barely breaching the plateau of average. This ...