Depth Continues To Haunt Penguins
I want to preface the information I provide here by pumping the brakes on the eulogies I’ve seen people write for the Penguins this weekend.
The only thing that could be worse than losing James Neal and Chris Kunitz on the top two lines would be losing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.
The Penguins got swept on a home-and-home against their arch rival with the injury bug making its presence known in the Penguins lineup.
If you find yourself in a situation where you have your top two centers playing alongside Taylor Pyatt and Joe Vitale, you know things are bad.
As for the assessment that Dan Bylsma didn’t prepare his team, I am not in the room, I am not around the team, and I can’t speak to it. If you want to use body language studies in congruence with a psychic ability you may have, by all means, feel free to expound on the subject.
Losing back to back games is normally enough to send people into a tailspin frenzy over the weekend, losing them to the Flyers causes full blown panic.
My focus here today is on a continuing issue for the Penguins:
The inability of their bottom six to accomplish any sort of offensive zone time.
Let’s take a look at the numbers from the Flyers series this weekend. These are even strength totals through two games.
A quick legend:
TOI – Even-Strength Time only
Corsi For – Number of shooting attempts generated at the Flyers net while that player was on the ice.
Corsi Against – Number of shooting attempts generated at the Penguins goal while that player was on the ice.
Corsi-For Percentage – Total percentage of all shots taken while that player was on the ice that were directed towards the Penguins net.
Shooting attempts can be indicative of possession.
Based on the numbers above, the Penguins didn’t have much outside of the top two lines.
The issue here remains the same issue we saw against Boston last year: Shut Crosby and Malkin down, win the game.
The Penguins need to find other ways to generate offense. I understand that the injury situation is extremely dire right now, but the Penguins are getting buried by their bottom six. It’s affecting their ability to run four good lines and give their stars a break.
Many people seemed to question Bylsma’s use of Crosby against Couturier this weekend.
The question Bylsma found himself faced with was simple. Do you want Couturier playing offense or defense?
Couturier haunted Crosby all weekend, but Crosby had his scoring chances, especially in the waning moments of yesterday’s game. Against lesser competition, Couturier might have been able to torch the Penguins bottom six.
Could a Harry Zolnierczyk or Zach Sill change these numbers? Tough to say, but one thing is for certain, the Penguins bottom six is still a liability.