by Tony on 01/10/09 at 08:48 PM ET
Well, they didn’t can Head Coach Michel Therrien after Thursday’s loss to Nashville, how about after this one ??
Despite placing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the top line together for the entire game, as well as each scoring a goal, the Penguins continued to fumble with goaltending and defensive issues that bit them directly on the butt-ocks, resulting in the Avalanche’s 5-3 win over the Penguins in Denver.
The Penguins have now lost seven of their last eight games and it doesn’t get any easier, with a trip to Philadelphia on Tuesday, plus home games Wednesday and Friday versus Washington and Anaheim, respectively.
However, the Penguins are now returning home for a day before heading to Philly. I could very well turn out to be proven wrong, but if Penguins’ management is going to make a coaching move, it’s going to be now.
It wasn’t like the Avalanche were lighting up the scoreboard themselves prior to this game, though. They hadn’t scored more than two goals in the past five games. That is, until they played the Penguins, with 32 shots on goal, 5 of them in the net.
The game was closely contested for most of the time, with the teams trading goals through the midway point.
Colorado started the scoring midway through the first period when Wojtek Wolski’s slapper deflected off the leg of Ryan Smith and past Pens’ goalie Dany Sabourin to give them a 1-0 lead. About five minutes later the Pens knotted the score at one when on the powerplay Crosby’s hard cross-ice pass led to a one-timer past Avalanche goalie Andrew Raycroft.
The Avalanche retook the lead early in the second period on the first of Sabourin’s two poor clearing passes. Sabourin’s pass was intercepted by the forechecking Avalanche, which led to a centering pass and a couple shots on goal, culminating in a wrister by David Jones past Sabourin to make it 2-1.
Pittsburgh tied the game up about nine minutes into the second period when Malkin along the right boards fed Crosby with a cross-ice pass that he beat Raycroft with a wrister to make it 2-2.
It didn’t last long, though, as a couple of minutes later Wolski skated in freely to the net as Brooks Orpik was tied up and fired a relatively easy wrister to the top shelf to beat Sabourin, making it 3-2 Avalanche. They doubled their lead four minutes later when Cody McLeod tipped a Jordan Leopold slapper from the point past Sabourin to make it 4-2.
The third period started with Therrien replacing Sabourin with Marc-Andre Fleury. It appeared that the Penguins got the energy boost they needed while they were short-handed when Jordan Staal stole the puck in the defensive zone, skated into Colorado’s zone, and fired a wrister past Raycroft for the short-handed marker to cut the lead to 4-3.
But, once again, while still on the same powerplay the Penguins defense allowed the Colorado powerplay free access right in front of the net, this time resulting in Jones’ second goal of the game with basically an empty net to give the Avalanche their two goal lead again.
- Eric Godard only played 2 minutes, 47 seconds of ice time. Why even have him in the lineup ??
- Only two penalties called the entire game, with both teams capitalizing on their respective powerplays.
- Penguins only won 39 percent of the faceoffs.
- Ryan Whitney led the Pens with 27:10 of ice time.
As already stated, the Penguins will head to Pittsburgh for a day before flying to Philly on Monday. We’ll see if anything, anything at all, changes before that time.
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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.
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