Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Hands off the button, Pens fans...for now

Ok, so it's not really time to press the panic button, but everyone knew the Penguins effort last night stunk. The harder question, it seems is "why". Really it only looked like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Gary Roberts were interested in playing last night. That's not going to cut it.

But, in the course of an 82 game season there's always about 5 games your team just dominates, 5 games and about 5 games where your team doesn't bother to show up. Chalk this one in the latter category.

In the bigger scope of things the Penguins still have two worries:

1)Not losing touch with the playoff race during Marc-Andre Fleury's 6-8 week injury
2)A shoddy divisional record.

The face-off factor recently compared the 2007-8 Penguins to the 2006-7 and noted that, after 30 games, this years group wasn't off pace. However, in a stretch from January 13th to February 18th last season's team captured an incredible 26 points out of a possible 32 (16 games). And then in the final 20 games of the season the team would only drop 3 games in regulation...Their combined record against Atlantic division opponents during this run was 8-2-1. Is this year's team capable of either such a run? Highly doubtful.

Right now the Penguins just need to weather the storm and hope when Fleury does return, his game is as sharp as it was before he left (stopping 86 of 90 pucks before his injury) and be the boost needed to jumpstart the team.

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