Key Observations Heading Into Game 18 Between the Penguins and Wild

By: Gemma Fagan (@gcfagan86)

The Penguins will be playing host to the Minnesota Wild tonight, the last time these two team met on CONSOL ice the Pens where able to strong arm the visitors into a 7-2 defeat and with yet another down turn in their form in recent games the home team will be hoping to replicate past feats and get back to their winning ways.

It looks as though those early season gremlins are back reaping havoc on the Pens Offense, it appeared that the Pens had turned a corner after their early season woes by managing to string together six straight wins but unfortunately it looks as though the boys have taken a few step backwards with 3 loses in their last 4 games played.

So It should come as no surprise that there are reports of frustration and tension bubbling over in the Pens locker-room, Russian forward Evgeni Malkin lite the fuse after Saturday night’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils by claiming his fellow team mates are “mad at each other”, although Captain Sidney Crosby has since said that Malkin comments went missing in translation and he meant the team are merely frustrated.

But maybe there is a bit more truth to the Russian superstar’s words then the team would like you to believe, this team has a core group of players that thought they would be cup contender’s year in year out but since winning the last dance with Lord Stanley in 2009 they have struggled to make it past the first round of the playoffs and with their continued fall from grace it would only make sense that recent events would be grinding on the gears of the teams seasoned veterans.

The teams issues in the past have generally revolved around the defense and goal tending but this season both areas have seemed to step up their game. Defensively they are ranked 4th in the league for goals against and their PK has come on leaps and bounds since last season with the unit sitting at 6th overall in the league with an 85.7%. Marc-Andre Fleury has all but carried this team thus far with a .931 save percentage, his naysayers must be feeling sick in the stomach at the thought of him being the teams current MVP.

So is this a case of fixing one issue and in the process braking another? Crosby is on pace for a 43 point season, the only other season he has put up less numbers was in the 2011-12 season and that was due to him only playing 22 games because of his concussion issues yet he was still able to register 37 points. The supposed golden goose Phil Kessel is also on track for his worst season in 8 years… Oy Vay!

There is much room for debate and discussion on what our beloved Pens have to do fix their most glaring issue but right now let’s just focus on the coming game and cross our fingers that they be able to put together a complete enough game that will see them take the much needed win over the Wild. #LetsGoPens