Don’t Panic Yet

The Pens are currently 9-7-3. Although this would potentially be a reason to panic, there is no reason to push that button just yet. The Pens have shown that their losses are a result of sloppy defense – and yes, it is true that newly endowed alternate captain and Pittsburgh French Canadian legend Kris Letang has a less than desirable +/-. But we need to remember that Letang has rose up from the dead more than Taylor Swift has in current years. The man has survived a stroke and recently a season-ending surgery for a herniated disk, and is still contributing to the defense despite lulls in productivity and on paper. Letang’s sheer ability to bounce back and even make it back onto the ice after missing the entire playoff run to our 2017 Stanley Cup Championship leaves little reason for concern en masse.

Moving on, the Penguins have still managed to win. It hasn’t been the shining record of last year, but besides unfortunate blowout losses to Chicago (another Cup contender – the Vegas favorite is heavily pointed at a Penguins-Hawks Final) and the resurgent and potently attacking Tampa Bay Lightning (Eastern Conference Championship, Penguins-Bolts anybody?) the Penguins have found ways to win and maintain a lead on the Metro. Furthermore, our point differential has been highly swayed by this and the fact that they have the most difficult schedule with multiple back to back games.

The Nashville game was likely a good catalyst for change in mentality as the season approaches November and December. The Championship hangover must be cured soon, and we have reason to believe that change is on its way. The most recent Predators game was won 5-4 by Nashville in overtime, as Letang was unable to capitalize. However, the game was hard fought and the Penguins came back from a deficit to force overtime in the first place, a staple of the team last season and likely a recurring theme that will happen in the rest of this regular season and playoffs. In short, it was clear the the Penguins had missed the veteran presences of Bonino and Cullen on the third and fourth lines in particular, which had largely helped the Pens despite ravaging injuries. The injuries to our third and fourth liners has been much more difficult to overcome recently, but we should trust in GMJR and Mike Sullivan to set the record straight and to motivate our boys.

Today’s game against Buffalo is a good time to turn it around.