What’s wrong with a Pittsburgh Penguins?

3:43 PM ET

You arise adult on a hotel penthouse building in a haze, vaguely identifying a dull bottles and a inflatable pool toys in a burble bath. There’s a duck roaming around. There’s a tiger in a bathroom. Stu appears to be blank a tooth.

It’s “The Hangover,” and you’re counting down a hours until a stroke subsides.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had one of those four-aspirin aftermaths in October, after winning their second uninterrupted Stanley Cup in June. They gave adult 50 goals in 13 games final month, that is one Arizona Coyotes dumpster glow divided from being misfortune in a NHL. The Penguins mislaid to a Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Winnipeg Jets by a total measure of 24-3. They’ve already diminished their backup goalie and traded for a abyss forward.

But they’re 7-5-1. Which is fine, all things considered.

Here are a 4 vital points of regard for a Penguins:

Kris Letang

Letang had an epically bad opening month, with usually dual even-strength points in 10 games (although he had 6 on a appetite play). Letang skated to an NHL-worst minus-14, though saying as how plus/minus tells we nothing, we’ll go to a possession story: He’s minus-10 in Corsi depends during even strength and has usually finished on a disastrous side of that bill once in his nine-year career. (The usually Penguins defenseman saying unchanging time with that kind of shot-attempt necessity is Justin Schultz during minus-24 in 10 games, and he’s now out with a concussion.)

There’s no doubt that Letang’s offseason credentials was interrupted by neck surgery, so maybe that’s what has led to a march of blown coverages and intercepted passes. His 25 giveaways are second-most in a NHL this season.

Sneaky-good teams to watch: Blue Jackets, Blues, Bolts

Most folks are profitable courtesy these days to a Vegas Golden Knights or a Toronto Maple Leafs. But law be told, we need to be giving vital props to dual teams from a East and one from a West that are sensitively conquering a league.

  • Ranking all 16 Eastern Conference coaching staffs in tiers

    By looking during a knowledge and before success of whole coaching staffs, we put any group into one of 4 tiers and arrange out who’s expected to contend and who will disappoint. It starts with a Penguins and Maple Leafs.

  • Trades we wish to see happen

    More than a few teams are looking to deliver their seasons by creation moves to fill gaps in their lineup. With that in mind, we’ve got 3 deals that will assistance urge a Predators, Hurricanes and Penguins.

  • Yet a Penguins are skating him out like there’s zero inherently wrong with his game, to a balance of 26:30 on average. It’s been too much, too soon. GM Jim Rutherford told a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette this week, “He’s entrance off a really critical injury. we trust he’s attempted to do too much. we trust we’ve played him approach too many mins since we’ve had to with a injuries.”

    Their starts stink

    The Penguins have been outscored in a initial duration 21-10, second usually to a Montreal Canadiens for opening-period futility. Pittsburgh leads a joining in first-period goals surrendered, giving adult one some-more than a New York Rangers (20), whose miss of preparedness in a opening support has scarcely cost manager Alain Vigneault his job.

    The Penguins are removing off to delayed starts, generally on a road. They’re also 1-4-0 when their opponents measure first.

    The bottom six

    ‘Twas a time in new Penguins story when a ubiquitous manager was dismissed for not carrying a third and fourth lines in order.

    This isn’t to advise that stream GM Rutherford is in Ray Shero domain — hell, after dual true Cups, he could substantially run for administrator were it not what we assume are citizenship mandate — though rather to contend that a Penguins’ bottom 6 is in a weakest state in years.

    The waste of Nick Bonino, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cullen will expected be felt many in a postseason, when their intrepidity during a final dual runs to a Cup was invaluable. But Pittsburgh misses them now too: The Penguins have gotten 12 points so distant during 5-on-5 from their bottom-six forwards, that is equal to what Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have generated on their own.

    Getting Riley Sheahan from a cap-strapped Detroit Red Wings was a plain addition. He’s been fine, nonetheless not a ultimate answer during third-line center. While one assumes that Rutherford will need to supplement some low-cost maestro adornments to his lineup for another Cup run, one hopes that players such as Tom Kuhnhackl and Greg McKegg can reason a installation during a unchanging season.

    That goalie situation

    Antti Niemi was in and out of Pittsburgh faster than we can contend “damn you, expansion-draft rules,” that means Matt Murray‘s reserve pillow is now Tristan Jarry, a.k.a. “Plan C.” As my co-worker Emily Kaplan remarkable in Wednesday’s Morning Skate, that has to change, and there are goalie options out there that won’t lift a Marc-Andre Fleury-level top hit.

    Well, that was gloomy.

    Here, let’s offshoot adult a IV and get them by this hangover with reasons for optimism:

    The Oct report was horrendous

    Two midweek back-to-back games, opposite a St. Louis Blues and Blackhawks and afterwards a Washington Capitals and Lightning. Two back-to-back weekend games, and both times a Penguins gave adult 7 goals in a behind finish of them. (The Chicago game, also a back-end one, saw Pittsburgh obey 10 goals.) This wasn’t a Vegas Golden Knights removing 7 home games to find their footing; this was a fortifying champion with a lot of miles on it confronting many of a NHL’s chosen teams right off a hop. The Nov report looks better.

    They’re winning games

    Granted, it’s taken purchase goals from Phil Kessel and Conor Sheary dual get them, as they both have a span of game-winners, though a Penguins are not in a same unsafe place where we see a Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers, notwithstanding identical unlucky starts. The Penguins are anticipating ways to win, that is arrange of what they do, since …

    They’re meditative about June

    Although Crosby expected treats a Friday night Oct diversion opposite a Florida Panthers with a same significance as a Stanley Cup Final game, a same can’t be pronounced for everybody else. They’re meditative about a prolonged highway ahead, a appetite it takes to transport it and how “the genuine season” doesn’t start until April. Can this mindset shoot your season? Sure, as new Los Angeles Kings teams will tell you. But it’s tough to suppose that manager Mike Sullivan and Crosby are going to concede it to fester.

    The Penguins will be fine, even if they now don’t demeanour it.

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