Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Rock Bottom? Senators 5, Penguins 1

So what happened?

Are the wheels off of the wagon at this point?  The Pens were the victims of more bad luck as Simon Despres left with what looked like a leg injury of some kind.  Every other defenseman had to play over 21 minutes.  That may have played a role in the lack of defenseman jumping into the play for the Pens.

The Pens did carry the play for much of the first two periods, but they also had serious mental breakdowns that allowed the Sens to take the lead.  For instance:

  • Chris Neil was allowed to walk from behind the net right out in front and have two cracks at getting the puck past Johnson (he succeeded on the second attempt).  Here's a hint - if the Sens have three guys at or below the goal line in the offensive zone, the Pens sure as heck need to have at least three guys there as well.  The D both covered up the cutters and no forward cycled down to take Neil (Cooke was closest, but that's usually the job of the center).
  • Nick Folingo undressed Zybanek Michalek, creating a two-on-one.  Deryk Engelland allowed Folingo's pass to make it across to Bobby Butler, giving the rookie a wide open net to shoot out.  Bad enough that Folingo made Michalek look bad, but Engelland cannot let the pass come across to Butler.  He has to stop it.

These would seem to be mental mistakes, and they keep happening to this team.  I don't know what the solution is, but right now I think they could certainly use a shot of confidence.

Who scored?

Malkin (17)

The Good?
  • Nice anticipation by Geno on his goal.  He intercepted a Gonchar clearing attempt and found a way to get the puck past Anderson.
  • Brooks Orpik backed up his talk about accountability by recording 10 hits and playing a solid game.
The Bad?
  • Another injury (Despres)
  • Only getting to the power play once.
  • Allowing a goal on the PK.
The Ugly?
  • The refs were TERRIBLE.  Gonchar blatantly cross-checked Malkin into the cage after he had scored.  How is that not a penalty?  There were several other instances where interference could have or should have been called.
Any Surprises?
  • Richard Park played well in his return.  He was very noticeable along the wall, winning several battles in the offensive zone.
What's their record now?
The Pens are 21-16-4.

Who's next?
No time for moping - the Caps are waiting in Washington.

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