It Isn't All Bad
Unfortunately for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the NHL does not award points for instances in which a team deserved to win a game they lost in regulation.
If they did, the Pittsburgh Penguins might well have a few points on the board.
While the 0-2 start inside the CONSOL Energy Center is less than desirable, the Pittsburgh Penguins have played better than their winless record would indicate.
That said, it takes a full 60 minute effort from all parties on the ice to ensure victory, it’s that aspect in which the Penguins have left fans disappointed.
Against Philadelphia, the Penguins dominated much of the first 20 minutes, and should have skated into the locker room at the first intermission with at least 2 goals to show for it.
However, they had nothing to show for their dominance other than a few black marks on the posts from where they’d failed on scoring opportunities.
Against Montreal, the Penguins played a nearly perfect home game, taking the lead late in the third on a Mark Letestu shot. The Penguins had capitalized, and went on to rag the puck and prevent Montreal any real clearance into the neutral zone.
However, Marc-Andre Fleury allowed two late third period goals that robbed the Penguins of the 2 points they deserved from that game. The second of those two late goals was, in a word, unacceptable. For a goaltender with this much time in the NHL and a resume as good as Marc-Andre Fleurys, you simply cannot allow that goal. There is no excuse.
But, as we said, the NHL doesn’t award points to teams to play well enough to win, but don’t.
There’s plenty of blame to go around. Despite the absence of the much-maligned Mike Yeo, the power-play looks arguably worse than it did last year. After the general public in Pittsburgh was ready to storm Mellon Arena with torches to drag Mike Yeo out on to the street, Dan Bylsma hasn’t given us a ringing endorsement of this new power-play yet, as the Penguins failed to capitalize on several chances against Montreal and Philadelphia.
But it’s not all bad. The Penguins have had a ton of chances, they just haven’t gone in. It’s certainly frustrating, but I don’t expect it to last all year.
It’s unreasonable to think that it will.
The beautiful thing about hockey is that there is a true ebb and flow to the season. These things come in waves. One week, you’re scoring at will, the next you can’t buy a goal.
Despite the fact that people in Pittsburgh ought to be aware of this by now, many fans have entered into general panic mode and are already drawing parallels to last year’s exit from the playoffs.
This team is different. This team looks different. Two games don’t make a season.
For how many deep cup runs we’ve seen this team go through, you’d think that people would have a reasonable expectation of how a hockey season works.
Most teams have issues to deal with, both early and late in the season.
This isn’t football. If you’re going to get so emotional that you’re questioning the team’s ability to make the playoffs after two games, you might want to stick with the Steelers. If they lose one of their 16 regular season games, it can have a major effect on their ability to get into the post-season.
Hockey doesn’t work that way.
That being said, the Penguins have their work cut out for them tomorrow. The New Jersey Devils haven’t been the portrait of consistency this year. Martin Brodeur is coming off of a game where he was pulled after allowing 5 goals on 20 shots. Brodeur has typically rebounded well after games like that. It doesn’t help that we still have a bitter taste in our mouths after an 0-6 record against the Devils last year.
There are still plenty of positives to draw off of going into tomorrow afternoon’s tilt.
The Penguins have plenty of time to figure this out.
However, if pressing the panic button is your thing, you ought to commiserate with the lady in the below video.
A hat tip to The Pensblog for the heads up.
A little questionable with language at the beginning, so be warned.