Two week roundup is a season long look at the Penguins performance over the previous two week period. It will highlight what the team is doing right and what they are doing wrong. It will track individual and team performance for that period and for the season to that point.
Well, it looks like the honeymoon is over and now the real work begins. After blazing out of the gates and looking like an unstoppable force, the Penguins came crashing down to Earth over their last seven games. Because of a combination of injuries and an inability to overcome the struggles that resulted from those injuries, the Pens are mired in a four game losing streak. The worst part is that this high caliber scoring machine of a team has a grand total of three goals over those four games. Injuries are tough to deal with, but every team has the same problem and the Penguins need to pull themselves together and start looking like the Stanley Cup Champs again.
In case anyone is wondering, the Penguins power play showed up on a milk carton yesterday. It is missing and presumed dead. The Penguins PP hit the Blutarsky line over the last 7 games at an amazing 0.0%. It was 0-23 and, overall, is now 26th in the league at 13.8% for the season. The Penalty kill was one of the few bright spots over this forgettable stretch. The Pens PK was at 85.2% in the last two weeks and is still 12th in the league at 81.8% for the season.
The Penguins domination of out shooting their opponents has all but disappeared. Over the last two weeks they out shot their opponents 197-195, but that is mostly due to a 35-15 difference against the Wild. The Pens were out shot in 4 of the other 6 games and last was a 50-50 split.
The Pens continue to be impressive in their own end when it comes to blocking shots totaling 105 BS over the last 7 games. That’s an average of 15 per game.
At the face off circle, the Pens managed to win only 46.5% of their draws over the last two weeks and are now down to 48.5% for the season. That is good enough for 23rd in the league.
- Kunitz, Fedotenko, & Dupuis – As the rest of the team has struggled recently, these three have been the best guys on the ice. One of these three led the team in shots in six of the seven games and had six of the eleven goals scored during the last seven games.
- Blocking Shots – The Penguins had an amazing 105 blocked shots over the seven games in this two week span. Even though they have been behind most of the time, they are still playing their game and maintaining some sense of discipline defensively. That’s a good thing.
- Penalty Kill – As anemic as the PP has been, the PK has managed to hold its own these past two weeks, and has played a large part in keeping the Pens in games where they were getting outplayed. The PK usually struggles when a team is losing, so the fact that it has continued to be successful means that emerging from this drought will not be as difficult as it should be.
- Injuries – The Penguins have so many injured players right now, Radar O’Reilly will be making all of the PA announcements. Luckily, none of the injuries are long term, but the fact that at least six key players went down in the last 10 games is deadly. Usually, these injuries will spread out over a few months, but the Pens got them all at once. Maybe that means they are done for a while.
- Sidney Crosby – Sure, everyone is calling for Sid to be lynched after getting only three assists in the last seven games, but there is some validity to it. He is the captain and the leader of this team and when his supporting cast goes down with injury or is struggling, it is his job to step up and make the plays that get the team rolling. He must score goals while Malkin and Gonchar are out. He needs to be the one that inspires the guys coming up from WB/S. He looked much better in the Devils game, but was still unable to effectively lead his team.
- Team Chemistry – With all of the injuries that are currently plaguing the Pens, it is expected that there will be problems around the changes in lines and the new guys in the locker room. But there has been little improvement in each progressive game. The team needs to learn how to play together quickly and they are just not doing it. Injuries will always happen and they must learn to overcome them.
- The Power Play – It is very simple. Zero PP goals in seven games is atrocious and completely unacceptable. Even with all of their injuries, this team is still extremely talented. Crosby, Kunitz, Goligoski, Guerin, Staal, and Fedotenko are all still healthy and are here to do just this. They’ve proved in the past what they are capable of, and it’s time get it together.
#3 – Martin Skoula – Sarge’s injury gave him his chance and he has been a great defensive defenseman. He may have earned himself a permanent spot.
#2 – Brooks Orpik – Despite getting injured during the last two weeks, he still had more points (4) then anyone else on the team. And he is still a monster defensively.
#1 – Kris Kunitz – He caught a lot of Flak while the Pens were playing well, but as they struggle he has been the hardest worker on the ice. 2G (one SH), 1A and shooting all of the time. That’s the effort that ends a slump.
Evgeni Malkin - Strained Shoulder, 2-3 weeks. Out: 10/29/09 - Expected Return: 11/14/09
Brooks Orpik – Lower Body Injury. Out: 11/10/09 - Expected Return: 11/25/09
Tyler Kennedy - Undisclosed (groin?), 2-3 weeks. Out: 10/24/09 - Expected Return: 11/19/09
Kris Letang - Shoulder contusion, 2 weeks. Out: 11/07/09 - Expected Return: 11/21/09
Sergei Gonchar - Broken wrist, 4-6 weeks. Out: 10/20/09 - Expected Return: 12/03/09
Max Talbot - Shoulder surgery, 5-6 months. Out: 07/7/09 - Expected Return: 12/03/09
- Sidney Crosby is still effective at the face-off dot winning 52.2% of his draws over this two week stretch.
- “Kevlar” McKee continues to be the first line of defense out there with 20 more blocked shots.
- Every team will go through losing streaks over a season. Just ask the Hurricanes. Better to have one in November then in March.
- Barring any additional injuries, Pens should be back to full strength in three weeks.
The Penguins have a full schedule over the next two weeks.
- 11/14 – vs. Boston Bruins
- 11/16 – vs. Anaheim Ducks
- 11/19 - @ Ottawa Senators
- 11/21 - @ Atlanta Thrashers
- 11/23 - @ Florida Panthers
- 11/25 – vs. Montreal Canadiens