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Top Three Reasons Why the Pittsburgh Penguins Are Slumping

Eric LaForgeCorrespondent INovember 18, 2009

PITTSBURGH, PA - NOVEMBER 12:  Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins makes a save against the New Jersey Devils in the second period at Mellon Arena on November 12, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There are a lot of reasons why the Penguins are in as bad of a slump as they are right now, but here are the top three contributing factors.

3. Offensive Scoring Drought

The Pittsburgh offense has started to get better during the past few games against Anaheim and Boston, but it was a bigger factor during the four game losing streak that the Penguins dealt with.

During those four games, the Pens only scored three goals, a statistic that I'm sure you are way too familiar with. However, a lot of this happened when Malkin left with his injury.

While Malkin was gone, the lines had to be adjusted. Most of the team had to work with somebody that they aren't familiar with. This explains the bad passes that the Pens have been making. It also explains why they haven't been able to make plays in the offensive zone.

2. Fleury's Mini-Slump

This isn't something that Pens fans need to worry about. We all know that Fleury is a great goalie and that he's going to play very well this season.

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However, that doesn't mean the entire season is going to be easy for him. There's going to be a point in the season where Fleury is not playing his best, and it's better that it's happening now than in the playoffs.

It was probably a good thing that he sat during the game against Boston. It was obvious that he played much better against Anaheim after he had a little bit of time to regroup. I think that his slump may be over.

1. Declining Defensive Play

A declining defense is one of the biggest factors that the Penguins have had to deal with during November. In their last six games, they have given up 28 goals.

To me, this is a bigger factor than the offense or Fleury because they were not playing well at all. They just aren't playing as solid as they usually do, and Fleury's suffering from it.

This is why I called Fleury's slump a "mini-slump." I think a lot of it is the fault of the defense. They have been allowing too many scoring chances to their opponents and it's really starting to hurt the team.

I also think that this is a bigger factor than the offense because they are letting in too many goals for the offense to make a comeback. Like I said before, they have allowed 28 in their last six games. Even if the offense was playing the way it normally did, they still would not be able to match the amount of goals the other teams are scoring.

Once again, we're starting to see the Penguins work hard and make better decisions. I don't know how much of an effect Malkin is going to have on the team now that he's back, but he's coming back at a good time.

Actually, if he was out longer, I think the Pens would still be fine. However, I'm sure the Penguins would rather have him on the ice. But, I do think that the worst of the slump is over and the Penguins will be able to start winning games like they were during the beginning of the season.

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