Gameday #39: v. New York Rangers

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PITTSBURGH PENGUINS v. New York Rangers

Consol Energy Center, 7:00 PM, Root Sports, NHL Network (local blackout)

 

 

Every GREAT movement experiences a period of thermodorian decline. A cooling off time before the movement is renewed with increased vigor and ultimate success. Recall the American Revolution and the Valley Forge Winter, the inept leadership of George McClellan that almost cost the Union the Civil War, 1916: the Year of Slaughter in World War I, and the Dunkirk Rescue of 1939. Game 5 of the 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. IF the Penguins are a great movement, then this must be their thermidor.

Since their 15 game win streak the Penguins have given up 10 goals and have only scored 2 in their last 120 minutes of hockey. They’ve been out of sorts in the offensive zone, completely lost in the defensive zone, the power play has dried up and without Mark Eaton the penalty kill looks completely inept. This is the most startling statistic I have EVER seen about the Penguins:

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But it’s all okay. It really is. Because here’s the truth, the Penguins were never going to win 27 regular season games in a row, they were never going to win 16 in a row in the playoffs. And the fact that the Pens still have 10 games left to get through their thermidor is great news indeed. And there is reason to believe that things can turn around quickly.

Mark Eaton should be back in the lineup, that should help to solidify the PK efforts. Although he may not play tonight it seems that Kris Letang will be back before the end of next week, these last three games without Tanger and Paul-Mart have shown just how essential they are to the Pens success. Jussi Jokinen will be in the lineup for the Penguins and I’m quietly really excited about his abilities and prospects with the Penguins, oh and Tyler Kennedy OR Tanner Glass has to come out of the lineup. That’s a win. No idea who is playing goal tonight though.

Yesterday Sid met with the team, in part this was probably a PR mission to prove that he was not concussed, and also probably to try to calm the team. Everything went well and I think people are really feeling optimistic that he could be back in the lineup sooner than later.

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The Eastern Conference playoff picture is a mess right now. The Rangers are still in if the season ended today. With an overtime loss today the Penguins would essentially lock up a playoff berth. At least according to this site. According to Pensblog it is any combination of 6 points to lock up home ice, and coming back to Winning Magic Numbers, the Pens only need 9 points to lock up the top seed in the East. Good deal.

Don’t give up the ship. Go Pens.

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