After a controversial no-goal call late in the third period, the Pittsburgh Penguins fell to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2. It was their third straight loss.
It must be March, because the Kings are starting to look dangerous, and the Penguins, ravaged yet again by injury, are beginning to have some glaring weaknesses exposed.
A week ago, this loss wouldn’t have concerned me nearly as much. After all, the Penguins magic number for clinching a playoff spot is down to one, and given how injury prone this Pittsburgh squad tends to be, sometimes easing into the playoffs while allowing your top lines to rest and recover is more important than grabbing every point in the regular season.
But after last night, I’m not so sure that’s the case. Maybe, after all, the Penguins actually are in crisis mode, and aren’t just simply resting on their laurels until the postseason starts.
The biggest are of concern has got to be the power play. The loss of Evgeni Malkin was clearly evident, as the Pens went 0-7 on the man advantage. They have lost two straight since Geno was sidelined with a foot injury.
While his injury is not deemed to be serious, the timing could not be worse. Malkin was finally starting to find his form again after a devastating loss in the Olympics. If he takes three weeks to start scoring again once he returns come playoff time, Pittsburgh is doomed.
And when you lean as heavily on the power play as the Penguins tend to do, the loss of one player becomes amplified. As the power play goes, so goes Pittsburgh’s main threat.
And as if that wasn’t enough, center Marcel Goc left the game in the second period after falling awkwardly on his foot behind the net. He did not return. His loss would be almost comical at this point. If the Penguins fail to galvanize themselves and make a deep playoff run this year, I’d be willing to bet that injuries will most certainly be a huge factor.
Not to pile on, but Rob Scuderi had another rough outing, going a -2 against his former team. He’s a -5 in his last five games as well. Woof.
True, the Penguins had a goal disallowed that most likely should have counted, but it’s still no excuse. They’ve had plenty of calls go their was this season, and had plenty of opportunities to strike back throughout the entire game as well. Each time they failed, and it cost them in the end.