To be honest, I was starting to worry about the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were in what you could call a slump. Don’t get me wrong, they were winning games, but for the past week or so, the Pens have just seemed off their game.
While the Pens are 5-3-0 in their last 8 games, look at the teams they’ve been facing. They lost 6-2 to Vancouver, a team that they are now ahead of. They lost 4-1 to Ottawa. Not only was Pittsburgh ahead of Ottawa by three points at the time of the game, but they had beaten the Streaking Sens 8-2 about a month earlier, and 4-1 early in the season.
Let’s talk about the 5 wins. Teams that the Penguins should have been walking all over, were scoring 4 goals in a game, or coming within a goal of winning against the Pens (Philly, Edmonton, NYI).
When the Penguins played the Washington Capitals, it was supposed to be a classic. For the first period, it was. Then, the Penguins seemed to break down. They lost all the battles, they couldn’t hold the puck and nobody could do anything.
Most people just thought, “Well, it’s the Caps. They can do anything!”. The problem is, they couldn’t do a thing against Pittsburgh in the last 4 games of their playoff series last year
So, yes, the Pens may not be the Stanley Cup winning team they were last year. They’ve lost Petr Sykora, a big part of their team, and Hal Gill, who was a dominating presence, and when the 3rd place Sabres came to town to face the Pens last night, I could help but feel nervous.
Why? The Pens just came off of a dramatic Shootout victory against the 9th place, Detroit Red Wings. It was another case of the Penguins being off of their game. The shots in that game were 47-24 for the Pens, and they won in a shootout, but the boys just didn’t seem in character.
Buffalo was the first team in a while that the Pens would play who were actually ahead of them. I found it hard to believe that the Pens would win, and that a quick start is what they needed.
However, even with Mark Letestu scoring his first NHL goal 47 seconds into the game, a bad goal by Derek Roy and a Thomas Vanek bullet that squeezed by Fleury managed to get the hopes of Pens fans down.
The Pens ended up winning 5-4, after playing their best game in a while. It’s too bad that the Devils play twice against Toronto before the Pens play again on this Saturday, or else we may have taken the division lead.
Currently, the Pens are playing the waiting game and hoping that the Leafs can somehow beat the Devils twice in one week. Pittsburgh plays Montreal, and Washington this weekend. It’ll be quite the test, but if the Pens can keep their confidence from the Sabres game, then the Devils could be in it for a battle for the Atlantic!
Thank you for reading, and for all of our sakes…… Go Leafs Go!