Usually when I hear “back to back” my thoughts go to a very happy place of championship joy. Now when I think back to back, I can’t get images of blowout losses out of my head.
That’s right, the Penguins are having problems on the back end of their back to back consecutive games. It’s downright atrocious to be honest.
In 5 opportunities of these back end games, Pittsburgh is 0-4-1 with 31 goals allowed to only 10 goals scored. In all but one of these contests, the Penguins only scored 1 goal a game. They aren’t just losing, they’re getting RUN OVER.
I mean look at these scores:
10-1, 5-4, 7-1, 7-1, 2-1 OT
That’s just gross.
At first it was thought that Anti Niemmi was the problem, as he was in goal for all of these colossal flops. The belief that our issues were gone after Niemi got cut last week is now debunked as Matt Murray was the starter for their latest 7-1 beatdown.
What gives? This isn’t the Penguins we know. I don’t wanna hear that they could be “tired”. It’s 10 games into the season, they’re better than that.
This isn’t like you can point the finger at a single facet of the game. Yeah the defense is egregiously disappointing having all those goals scored, but the offense isn’t off the hook either.
You have to feel bad for rookie call up Casey DeSmith. He finally makes the roster, gets thrown into a game as the ship is sinking with no time to warmup, and lets up a goal on his first shot, only to be demoted after the game. Talk about a forgettable debut.
The writing was on the wall in the Tampa game as well. When your team captain and the face of the league, Sidney Crosby, gets a 10 minute misconduct early in the game, you know there’s trouble.
We’re only talking about back to back games though, the sky isn’t falling. The Pens are actually fine other than that. The team is right in the middle of the pack towards the top of their standings, and as this great website has previously alluded to, the full roster isn’t near set.
I hate to be so negative about a team that’s had such phenomenal success over the past 24 months. They’ve earned the benefit of the doubt, but when you’re losing in such ways it has to be acknowledged.
Now Thursday night’s game against Calgary was a step in the right direction as they only lost 2-1 in overtime. The downside of that was once again the lack of scoring, with their only goal coming with under a minute left in the 3rd having the goalie pulled. Overall though they were more on balanced than games past.
You never want to take the L in your 1st start of the season but it almost feels like Tristan Jarry got a moral W for having a backup goalie not collapse. Is he our new solution to the backup goalie issue? Time will tell. He does have an awesome mask though.
If you thought they have had enough back to back games already, you’re not out of the woods yet. Sadly, the Penguins have a league leading 19 back to back games on the schedule this season. We’re barely a quarter of the way there. This is one nightmare that would be lovely to go away.