The Pens got killed last night, but what were we to expect? The whole team’s injured. Oh wait, Malkin, Gonchar, Talbot, and Eaton all ended up playing? Oh. So they just sucked. Alright, I can accept that.
The Pens got outplayed last night from the millisecond after Jordan Staal poked in a Pascal Dupuis feed to make it 1-0 up until the final buzzer. They somehow only got outshot 31-27, but it felt a lot worse, their powerplay was painfully bad (they finished 1 for 5 but the 1 was in the last couple minutes when they were already down 6-1), Fleury played his worst game of the season, allowing several goals from angles that protractors aren’t capable of measuring, and the team carried a general lack of urgency that doomed them from the moment they fell behind 2-1.
Also, complaining about the Penguins (or any team) not shooting the puck enough is hockey’s Kneejerk Fan 101, but the Penguins reeeeally didn’t want to shoot the puck last night (except Dupuis, and if he’s the only one firing the puck, you are the worst team in the NHL). The telltale sign that the Pens aren’t shooting the puck, usually, is when they have a game where Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Gonchar all keep trying to thread passes to other players in worse shooting positions than themselves, and this kept happening again and again; it’s bad enough that the people Malkin passes to will be, by definition, crappier finishers than him, but it’s even worse when it’s a risky pass and it’s to a dude who isn’t even in a better position to score than the person passing. Hopefully, the scoreboard at the end of the night will be enough of a cartoony slap across the faces of the Pens’ stars to wake them back up for Saturday night.
– Daniel Alfredsson looked as good last night as I’ve seen him in the last three seasons. He’s always been right on that fence between “Consistently Good Player” and “Superstar,” but last night he played like the latter.
– The Senators fans loudly booed every single penalty call against the team. Christ, Ottawa, you can relax — you’re not frickin’ Montreal, you’re allowed to derive pleasure from live hockey events.
– If there’s one positive to take out of the Senators game, at least the Penguins never traded anyone for Jonathan Cheechoo. Man, that dude has nothing left — he’s fallen all the way to the status of “Random Roleplayer Who Breaks Scoreless Drought Against Penguins.” Yeesh.
– In fairness to the Pens, they were at the end of a long road trip. Meaning, the trip from Pittsburgh to Ottawa.