Pittsburgh Penguins 0-3 Phoenix Coyotes: Absolutely Nothing Doing
Two games into the new season, the Penguins were on pace to go 82-0-0. It took a mere 40 seconds for that to change. Matt Cooke took an early interference penalty, starting a parade to the sin bin that saw the Penguins run up ten minors.
Evgeni Malkin got the gate for a double minor for a high-sticking that led to the Coyotes first goal, a blast from veteran defenseman Ed Jovanovski. And while the Desert Dogs continued to stock up on powerplay chances, the Mellon Arena faithful sat on their hands waiting for anything positive to happen.
Down two-nil in the second period, the Penguins sustained a forecheck for over 45 seconds, and Alex Goligoski appeared to score.
The horn went off and the fans exploded, but immediately the goal was waved off because Cooke was heading to the box again after Jovanovski dropped to the ice easier than a house of cards.
After establishing a lead, the plot kept repeating itself like a bad nightmare. Bring the puck out of their own end, run into five Coyotes standing at the red line, and try to navigate through the trap only to have the puck stolen away and dumped back in to their own zone once again.
Lather, rinse and repeat.
Lather, rinse and repeat.
On some nights in the Igloo, you can't hear yourself think. But tonight, the cotton candy man brought more excitement to the fans than the action on the ice.
Johnson: 6.5. A poor result was no indication of his personal performance. While Marc-Andre Fleury made a spectacular save on a two-on-one against the Rangers, Johnson made the play of the game to stonewall Shane Doan. Deserved much better, the forwards just gave him no support.
Eaton: 6. Did a decent job on the penalty kill, but just isn't Rob Scuderi.
Goligoski: 3.5. Apart from his disallowed goal, was by far the worst defenseman on the ice wearing black and vegas gold. Was never comfortable with the puck and made a number of poor passes that resulted in turnovers.
Gonchar: 5. The usually stout powerplay captain had nothing to work with and no chance to set anything up offensively.
Letang: 4. His atrocious giveaway with a minute left to play that led to an empty net goal put the finishing touches on an already disappointing night.
McKee: 5.5. Blocked a couple shots and saw over four minutes of penalty killing time, but that's about it.
Orpik: 4. Took an undisciplined penalty out of frustration that gave the Coyotes their second powerplay goal of the evening.
Adams: 6. Played nearly half of his ice time - 5:12 to be exact - on the penalty kill.
Bourque: 6. Showed flashes of skill from time to time and also found himself playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin for a short while. But his Penguin career began when he wiped out on the forecheck in the first period, an awful omen.
Cooke: 3.5. Botched a breakaway chance after springing loose from the box, which turned out to be the Penguins best chance all night. Took three minor penalties, one which took away a would-be Penguin goal.
Crosby: 3. One of the worst performances he has ever turned in. Took several poor penalties, lost 71 percent of his draws and gave the puck away on counless occasions.
Dupuis: 5. Didn't see much ice time. When he did, he was on the PK like many others.
Fedotenko: 5.5. Created a nice scoring chance in the second period but should have took the shot himself instead of looking for the perfect play. However, showed few effects of any injury he might have sustained on Long Island.
Guerin: 3.5. As good as invisible.
Kennedy: 4. It's hard to produce when you're not on the ice. Only saw 12 minutes while his season average was nearly two minutes more.
Kunitz: 5.5. One of the more noticeable Penguins, but got himself in trouble more times than not trying to make things happen in traffic. Was not a force along the boards as he so often is.
Malkin: 4. Harassed all night long by Jovanovski, but made a mess of the few scoring chances he did get.
Rupp: 5. Did his best to get the crowd involved with big hitting, but it honestly just wasn't there.
Staal: 7. Dominant in the circle, winning 92 percent of draws. But he never had any help from his linemates. That didn't stop him from giving his best effort though.
Next up, the Penguins travel to the Wachovia Center to face the arch-rival Philadelphia Flyers. On one level, having a game the next day gives the Penguins the chance for instant redemption after a dreadful performance.
On another level, the Penguins need to find their grove in a hurry or they won't stand a chance in the City of Brotherly love.
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