Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins got burned on Friday night. With the news of Sidney Crosby missing about six weeks of action Malkin spoke about becoming fire.
What he didn’t plan for is being fire doesn’t fare as well when you are playing the Devils. It was the Penguins who got burned.
Pittsburgh owned both the number of attempts and the quality of attempts at a 68% clip. The team continues to struggle to score goals when they need them. This loss is more disappointing because the New Jersey Devils are awful at holding third period leads this year. Prior to this game they had given up 24 third period goals while only scoring nine. This is a growing trend of the Penguins playing good enough to win, but not getting the results. This week was a lost opportunity with the Penguins only getting a single point from both the Rangers and the Devils who have struggled this year. Not a good start for the Crosbyless Penguins.
The Penguins move to 0-1-0 on the year when Jack Johnson scores. It was his first goal in 91(!) games. I knew things were bad, but I guess I didn’t realize he was goalless for over a season. This should open the floodgates…
Truth be told it was a nice goal. It had Max Talbot Game 7 vibes to it going across the grain and rising above the goalies shoulder while staying below the cross bar.
Alex Galchenyuk even recorded a point on the goal and it was his 300th of his career.
Tonight the Penguins will face another team going through their own share of struggles, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Toronto is middling in the standings compared to what the perception of them was heading into the season. They are actually tied with the Penguins with 22 standings points. However, the Penguins have two games in hand. Pittsburgh is currently holding down the second wild card spot. The Maple Leafs will be missing Mitch Marner as he is out a minimum of four weeks with an ankle injury. The Penguins will still have to navigate Auston Matthews, John Tavares, and William Nylander.
Good news for Malkin as Leafs are very susceptible to fire.
Thanks for reading!