News and Notes: Post West Coast
For as good as the Penguins were in the first two games, it certainly caught up with them last night in Edmonton.
There’s something to be said for three games in just four nights on the western tour of Canada, that trip is even more exhausting when it’s three straight home openers at the start of the season.
The Penguins simply ran out of gas against a young, quick Oilers team, a fact that Dan Bylsma was quick to note in the post-game scrum.
“Special teams was such a factor in the game, it used up a lot of our energy, a lot of our minutes, either killing a penalty or on the power-play, we didn’t have enough gas in the tank to continue to push and get opportunities to get that second goal.”
You had two furiously physical games leading up to the final road game in Edmonton, Jordan Staal suffered from dehydration less than three days prior, and Evgeni Malkin was absent from the line-up with what is being described as a lower-body injury.
When asked about Malkin in the post-game scrum, Bylsma was short and to the point.
“Don’t have an update for you, possible lower-body injury, it’s not long term.”
Despite all this, and under Kris Letang’s dominant performance of 33 shifts and 29 minutes of time on ice, the Penguins were able to maintain a point and take 5 of a possible 6 on the roadtrip.
- Letang has played well over 80 minutes so far into this young season, you’ll have to think that number will decrease when Brooks Orpik returns to the line-up.
- Letang’s 33 shifts was matched only by Jordan Staal. Special teams certainly played a huge part in last nights game.
- The Penguins new power-play layout was given fits last night by the Oilers aggressive penalty kill. There are still adjustments being made to this umbrella style unit, and the Oilers played a bit of a diamond style defense last night, forcing the Penguins wingers to the high blue line, preventing that cross-ice one-timer.
- James Neal attempted 12 shots on goal last night, leading the team. Letang lead in shots on goal with 6, but Neal certainly showed a penchant for being able to violently throw the puck at the net. He has hit a post in each game he’s played thus far.
- One of the most underrated aspects of this team’s play so far has been Pascal Dupuis on the third line. A viable option as a top 6 wing, Dupuis brings depth to the checking line and bolsters an already solid compliment of role players.