When a team endures a poor stretch of play...and the subsequent losses that are the result of that play...things can start to unravel in a hurry.
Heading into last night's game against the Ottawa Senators, the Penguins were spiraling down the Eastern Conference standings...thanks to a 4 game losing streak...and in desperate need of some positive results.
Injuries have played a key part in the Penguins recent woes...but prior to the game yesterday the team received some good news concerning injuries to James Neal and Craig Adams - both would be able to play against the Senators.
It seemed like the kind of news that might spark a team in need of a positive charge.
The Penguins lost their 5th game in a row...in a performance that was akin to a fart in Church.
It stunk and it was embarrassing.
Let's give some credit to the Senators though...they are playing very good hockey and are getting some solid goaltending.
If only the Penguins could say the same thing.
Brent Johnson, a guy that has been clutch for the Penguins in the past couple of seasons, has been anything but this year.
In the first game of a back to back (tonight we have the Caps), Johnson was needed to help turn the tide...but instead...the floodgates were wide open.
Of course, it's not all Johnson's fault. The guys playing in front of him have to show more than a passing interest in playing good positional hockey.
Hmm...looks like another ticker in the NO column on that one too.
Things couldn't get worse...could they?
Unfortunately, the answer to that is - "OH YES THEY COULD!"
The Pens face a Captials team tonight, in Washington, that is suffering from a similar sickness recently. The Capitals are missing their top scorer, Niklas Backstrom and their best offensive defenseman in Mike Green. Add to that they are getting some inconsistent goaltending and play from their forwards and you have what looks like a battle for the bottom spot on a rope between two men who are hanging on for their lives.
One of these teams needs to turn it around...and given that the Caps are 3-2 in their last 5, despite losing their last 2, I think the Penguins could be in for their first 6 game losing streak in SIX YEARS.
A loss would send the Penguins, once the 1st place team in the conference earlier this year, into 9th place and out of the playoff picture.
I'm not a betting man but if I were, my money would be on the sixes tonight.
It's getting ugly and it looks to get worse before it gets better.
Thanks for reading...
Penguins, Caps, and Sabres are 3 teams that should be battling atop the Eastern Conference right now, but at this pace, they will all be battling for the bottom spot in the conference. Amazing how difficult it has become to win in this league...you simply can't afford to take a night off. The second half of the season is going to be an interesting one to say the least.
This is when a team finds out what its made of. When the chips are down and their backs are against the wall. We will learn the most about the pens in the next couple weeks.
Not enough emphasis can be placed on the fact that everyone seems to be one or two steps away from finishing any plays. Johnson in goal, Cooke in front of the goal...Hope Letang can get well soon (making good strides I read) and they can right the ship. Still a lot of season left to get hung up on 5 or 6 games.
The penguins really are over ratedEven with staal letang Neal and Malkin in the line up they weren't beating top tier teams. 4 of their wins came from tw isles with everyone healthy, even Crosby for one game. Without those wins they wouldn't be in the playoffs. They should be on playoff contention but imo they aren't a top 7 team in the NHL without crosby
In this order the penguins need backLetang Crosby staal Neal