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Despite Loss, Penguins Making Progress

Let’s face it, we should be grateful the Penguins came out of last night’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Rangers with a point.

Henrik Lundqvist was solid for the first 57 minutes between the pipes for the Rangers.  It really looked as if it was simply going to be one of those nights when you tap your stick to the opponent’s goaltender and get ready for the next game.

What followed was a wild 65-second scramble that accounted for three goals to eventually send the game to overtime, where Ryan Callahan’s tap-in goal off a 2-on-1 Rangers break gave them the win.

Other notes:

- Can’t pin the loss on Marc-Andre Fleury.  Both goals in regulation came as a result of deflections off his defensemen, while the OT winner was a 2-on-1 break where Callahan was right on the doorstep.

- Ugh.  The Penguins’ powerplay, after a woeful 0-for-6 performance (with only 6 shots on goal), has a “success” rate now of only 13.0%, which lands them 23rd in the league.  I don’t know what happened.  At least during the first several games of the year the powerplay had some structure to their system, even though they weren’t capitalizing on their chances.  Now, it’s just a crapshoot.  Too much passing and no real presence in front of the net.  I’ll say this much, the opposition has done their homework, they’re seeing what works in killing penalties vs. the Penguins.  Be extremely aggressive, especially on defensemen Alex Goligoski and Kris Letang.  And it’s working.

- Hindsight is 20/20 of course, but you could sense that the Penguins felt the game was over when Lundqvist took the unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.  I know I did.  But as it seems it’s going this season, the slightest bit of hesitation is costing the Penguins, and it did again last night.  Plus, the fact that the Rangers scored off a deflection is just another kick in the gut.

- Not only did the Penguins get 39 shots on goal vs. the Rangers, they had 19 missed shots.  They continue to lead the league in that category, although the team they’re playing tomorrow, the Vancouver Canucks, are only one behind them now.

Penguins back at it tomorrow night vs. Vancouver.

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Comments

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After watching a game like that I feel like there should be a rule change. OT & SO losses won’t ever be changed to no loser point whatsoever, but I think if a team has the lead in the third, and the other team ties it up and wins, the loser should not get a point. They only get a point when they lose in OT or SO if they forced overtime.

Malkin has no sense of the moment. Did you notice how after the SH goal (in which he gave up the puck at the blueline, when he just had to get it in deep, and had no hunger on the backcheck), the next time he carried the puck over centre ice he dumped it in? I haven’t seen him do it all year, and now he does it one play late. I guess he learned his lesson. Well no, he hasn’t, this is something we need to accept apparently (like his hooks).

Posted by NathanBC on 11/16/10 at 01:22 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

They’ve played some really solid hockey the past few games.

It’s definitely encouraging…because even I, the ever-optomistic fan that I am, was starting to get worried.

The powerplay is absolute garbage, though.  I completely agree that there’s a huge difference between what it looks like failing now and what it looked like failing early in the season.  Early, the chances were there…they just weren’t going in.  Now?  They can’t even get the puck into the f*cking zone.

I mean, Jesus…just one time get the puck in without going offsides three times in a row or dumping it in only to have it go right right back out.  I get that they want to get the puck in deep and do work to get control of it and get set up…but you got to GET TO THE PUCK first.

I’ve actually taken to leaving the living room and going into the bathroom so I can slam my head in the toilet seat for two minutes…because, frankly, that’s way less painful than watching the PP.

Kris Letang is a beast, though.

Trade Staal.

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 11/16/10 at 03:21 PM ET

Avatar

Trade Staal.

I am going to assume that is sarcasm. 

I am actually thinking it would be better to replace the entire power play unit with an entirely different one.  I would put Letestu, Talbot, Cooke, Letang, and Engelland out there and see what happens.  For one thing, Engelland will not hesitate to shoot the puck towards the net.  Also, you know Cooke and Talbot will work hard on the boards.  Letestu is good at faceoffs.  Why not?  I would try it for an entire game and see what kind of results you get.  Another positive would be you could go right to Crosby or Malkin afterwards since they would be fresh from the 2 minute break.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 11/16/10 at 05:07 PM ET

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Why not?
Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 11/16/10 at 03:07 PM ET

Because of Sidney Crosby & Evgeni Malkin, you can’t keep them off the ice, you need the skill set they bring in puck retrieval, entering the zone (haha, I know), moving the pk (haha, I know), and just making plays. Talbot, Cooke, and Engelland are north/south players and great compliments to skill players, but they don’t have the puck skill to be consistent (haha, I know).

Lets not forget how in the last three years the powerplay has been very bad until about the halfway point, then it picks up steam, then it’s a force going into, and during the playoffs. That’s not an excuse for what’s been going on in the first halves of seasons, but it is something to remember. They find a groove.

Posted by NathanBC on 11/16/10 at 05:26 PM ET

Flashtastick56's avatar

Trade Staal.

I am going to assume that is sarcasm. 

Serious as a heart attack, dude.

Maybe to Edmonton for Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and three 1st round picks?

And Ryan Whitney.

wink

Posted by Flashtastick56 from Meriden, CT on 11/16/10 at 06:22 PM ET

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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.

Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.

I am blogger- credentialed with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  My posts are regularly linked by hockey websites such as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Yahoo!‘s Puck Daddy, and I’ve done numerous guest blogger spots on such websites asthe New YorkTimes.  I am a retired U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer.

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