Another 0-5 effort on the power play led to another Penguins loss Saturday night, this time to Montreal by a score of 3-2.
Canadiens 3 — Penguins 2
Many will blame the soft goal given up by Marc-Andre Fleury early in the third period or the defense of he Pens. However, a power play unit with so much talent that is given so many chances should not go 0-5. Especially against a Montreal team with an average penalty kill.
Not to mention the fact that three of the five came in the third period while trailing. The final chance came with just over three minutes remaining — a gift for any team trying to tie a game late.
The power play has been a huge problem in the last few games for the Pens. They are 0-13 in their last three games on the power play. If you go back a little further, they are 2-18 in their last five.
The ineffectiveness with the man-advantage allowed Montreal, specifically Andrei Kostitsyn, to dictate play all game. His first goal came just 1:15 in to the game and immediately put the Pens in a fight-from-behind position.
For every answer Pittsburgh had, Kostitsyn had a rebuttal. Pascale Dupuis tied the game at one but Kostitsyn scored just before the end of the first period — a killer goal to any momentum the Penguins had gained.
Sidney Crosby scored 5:51 in to the second and tied the game at two. That lasted until early in the third period, when Kostitsyn scored his third of the game. He fired it right through Fleury’s legs on a shot that shouldn’t cause too much trouble for any NHL goaltender. It proved to be the game-winner.
Nevermind the soft goal, though. Pay attention to the offense.
When Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Petr Sykora, Ryan Whitney, etc. get five chances there is no reason to not get a goal.
Many thought that Ryan Whitney’s return would spark some offensive power. He has seen significant time on the power play, especially on Saturday, yet it hasn’t amounted to anything more than good chances.
Chalk it up to chemistry, something that I believe to be at a huge loss on this team. The chances the Pens got were outstanding at times. I really just think that the unit needs to adjust to Whitney’s style of play being back on the ice.
In the second end of back-to-back games I think the Pens skated and hustled as much as they possibly could. It’s hard to ask for much more. They outshot the Canadiens 34-19, allowed only one power play while getting five of their own and won most puck battles.
The bounces will come and the chemistry will improve … hopefully.
It’s hard to imagine a tighter locker room than last year’s. But hopefully with time and a healthier team we will see it improve. Even though the Pens lost there are many positives to take from the game.
If they get the power play rolling this team will be right back on track.
Chris | PPT