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Penguins look lost against the Islanders

March 1, 2021, 12:22 PM ET [132 Comments]
Ryan Wilson
Pittsburgh Penguins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
If you're looking positives to take from last night's game from a Penguins perspective you aren't going to find many. The Islanders outplayed the Penguins and earned their first shutout over the Penguins since Kelly Hrudy closed the door in 1986. It was a really bad game and unless the Penguins meet the Islanders in the playoffs it will have been their last game at the Nassau Coliseum.

One positive was the play of Casey DeSmith. He started for the first time in seven games. The life of a backup goalie is not easy. You have to be ready all the time despite not getting a lot of playing time. Desmith played really well for somebody who hasn't had game action in a long time. He stopped 28 out of the 30 shots. You can't ask for much more than that.

If you want another positive Evgeni Malkin has had a 50% or better CF% in four straight games. He was especially good in this area against the Islanders going CF 39 CA 17 over the weekend. Not bad considering most Penguins were buried in their own end.

The Penguins special teams remain a huge problem. Their penalty kill was downright bad again last night.

Both Islander goals last night were on the man advantage. The 72.2% is awful and needs to get better. It isn't like the team doesn't have players who could be good at it. One option the team hasn't tried is Kasperi Kapanen. He did get a sizeable amount of time on the Maple Leafs penalty kill. Might as well try something new at this point.

The power play remains underwhelming as the Penguins rank 26th in the league at 15.0%. Just like the panelty kill the Penguins have enough talent on the roster to be good at this. There is no excuse to be bottom five in both areas.

Can their 5v5 play save the day? Well, things aren't exactly humming along in that area, either. The Penguins rank 24th overall in xGF/60 with 2.04. Their x/GA60 is 2.19 and is ranked 19th. You can see the xGA is higher than the GF which isn't what you want. This lines up with the individual performances so far this year

There are a lot of players that just need to play better. This is the group. I don't predict there will be a mid-season overhaul of the roster. It is just too difficult of a task. The team will sink or swim with the majority of these players.

The Penguins have a big matchup with Philadelphia on Tuesday. The Flyers are two points ahead of the Penguins in the standings and currently sit in the final playoff spot in the division. The Flyers also have two games in hand making a regulation win a top priority for the Penguins.

Thanks for reading!
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