1. It was one of those nights that happens when a team had played one game in the previous seven days. Shit happens.
2. This is cause for major concern because the Panthers are terrible.
If you want to ride with one of those opinions or come up with your own, the result is still the same. The Pens laid an egg against the Panthers. We went through the 1992-93 season yesterday, and that team lost games like 7-1 and 11-3.
If you need a silver lining, the Penguins got out of this game without one of their players’ legs falling off, so that’s good. Neal, Megna, Martin, and Kobasew returned to the lineup.
We’re thinking this fart sound of a game had to do with the long lay-off, but that theory will soon be put to the test:
The next three games
Wednesday – Montreal comes to town. Montreal is clinging to the three seed in the Atlantic Division.
Thursday – A trip to Long Island to face an Islanders team that has won six of eight.
Saturday – The Pens travel to Dallas and play a desperate Stars team while social media gets overtaken by James Neal and Matt Niskanen quips.
Scott Clemmensen’s mask looked like it was made in MS Paint.
The Penguins outshot the Panthers, but it didn't feel like it. ROOT Sports showed something useful for a change about the Pens’ now-extinct home winning streak and their overall performance at home this season:
The Panthers definitely came to play. The Pens got some early chances, but the Cats came right back with some looks at MAF.
Malkin took a stick to the face, and the Pens had a PP. The Penguins went with four forwards on the powerplay, and it cost them. Malkin missed the net, the puck went around the boards, and Florida picked it up on a 2-on-1. Letang was back, but Drew Shore beat MAF. 1-0.
Fleury’s hasn’t been giving up the Thriller shoulder-shiver goal this season as much as he has in years past. But watch Shore. He knew where he was going.
Timing looked off for Fleury.
Bad angle. And that shoulder dipped too soon.
The Pens starting crashing the Panthers’ net big-time early in the second. Glass went after Jovocop, and they battled. That was a good one.
TURNING POINT 1.0
After Glass got out, he went back to the net and put the stick up into Bane, so he was going back to the box. Pens killed that, but then had to kill another one when Crosby went off. Then Kunitz went off for tripping Campbell. The Panthers needed to capitalize, but they just couldn’t. Pens killed off nearly 6 straight minutes of PP time.
It felt like it was the Penguins’ turn to score, but that Drew Shore guy scored instead. 2-0.
Those three straight penalties were like a stick in the balls, and that was pretty much game, blouses.
The Pens had a power play later on, but it didn't do anything.
The Panthers willed themselves into a great position. If the Penguins have the lead going into the second period, they are 18-1. When leading after two, they are 21-1. But when they are behind going into the third period, they are 5-9. That’s part of the blueprint if you’re going to beat the Penguins. It’s easier said than done, but the Panthers made it look pretty easy.
If you were wondering, the worst in the NHL are the Oilers, who are 3-26 when trailing after two. Chicago is the best at 5-5.
The Panthers knew if they didn't get that third goal, they were going to be in trouble. They came out buzzing, and Kulikov took advantage of a Paul Martin misplay. 3-0.
Crosby got himself all jammed around with that Weaver guy again. But this sparked some shit. Malkin came out guns blazing, and the Pens had some room 4-on-4.
After making a few sparkling saves on Malkin, Clemmensen let a Niskanen slapper get by him. 3-1.
The momentum turned just like that, and with the Pens’ ability to score quickly, the Panthers looked sick.
Turning point 2.0
Sidney Crosby committed a turnover in the Pens’ zone, and the Panthers got a chance. Nick Bjugstad almost beat Fleury with a sick move, and Letang went into Lone Survivor mode in front of the net.
It was hard to find where the puck was, but the Panthers knew right away.
And they weren't wrong:
It took 15 minutes for Toronto to OK it. 4-1.
The goal broke the Pens 'backs.
Literally 8 seconds later the Panthers scored again. 5-1. Yikes.
– Crosby woof.
– Matt Niskanen with another goal.
– The bottom six goes another game without a point.
– Pics: AP/Getty