The NHL season is a crazy man's math problem. It's eighty-two games squeezed into seven months and no one should blame a team if they encounter a losing spell. Not even the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are currently in the midst of a three-game slid. Now, there is no way for fans to justify panicking this soon. There's two games left this month and seventy-one more till the end of the season. However, losing stinks, winning rocks and the Penguin haven't done that in nine days.
That said, the way back to 'W's is easy: learn from one's mistakes to minimize damage. In loses to Colorado, New York, and Toronto, the Penguins have established nasty habit that when corrected should bring the Pens back to their earlier winning ways.
The Pathetic Powerplay- The Pens being shutout by Jean-Sebastian Giguere was half him looking great and going 0-7 on the powerplay. That included five man-advantages in the first period. For a team that wields a All-Star lineup as a first PP unit, that's unacceptable. The Penguins continued this trend against the Islanders before snapping the drought at thirteen with Kris Letang's mark in Toronto. That's 1-15 in three games. That's mind-numbing. Letang back in the fold helps, but the Pens need to start moving the puck less and shooting it more. Maybe replacing Paul Martin with Matt Niskanen will help that, but the real assistance will come when James Neal gets back to his spot in the right circle.
Better Defense in Front of the Net- The beginning of the year saw as many as three Penguins helping Fleury out in front of the cage. It resulted in a ton of blocked shots and few scoring opportunities for opponents (three goals allowed in the first three games). Where'd that strategy go? Fleury has been great this year, but that extra defensive assistance was a welcomed addition. Jeff Zatkoff would've liked some of it in the third period of the Islanders game. Marc-Andre missed Rob Scuderi in the last frame in Toronto. Getting back on 'D' and helping the goalies out will certainly create more wins. This might become easier said than done with the Scuderi injury.
Hitting the Road- Sounds strange but a long road trip might the Penguins good. Seven of the eleven Pens games have been on home ice. That's not always a good thing. It makes players overly relaxed and that leads to sloppy play (exceptions always). A few nights away from Pittsburgh might help the team refocus and get back to playing fundamental hockey. There's a three game road-trip coming up the first week of November that'll take seven days. Might be just what the doctor ordered.
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