The Pittsburgh Penguins are a different team than they were not long ago. The Penguins had nerve and chutzpah when they stormed the NHL in the first half of the season. Without Sidney Crosby for two months, and before that the Penguins were without Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins won games with direct and straightforward play.
You could also use the word desperation or urgency instead of intensity, but the Penguins clearly used up a lot of their intensity—the magic which had led the team to believe something special.
Every team goes through ups and downs through an 82-game schedule, but the Penguins are now officially in trouble. It’s been eight years since the team lost this many regulation games in a row. Not even the misery in the fall of 2018 included such losing streak.
The team will soon get three players on the injury rack. Defensemen John Marino, Brian Dumoulin, and center Nick Bjugstad will bolster the Penguins lineup. The returns of Dumoulin and Marino will especially create more flow to the Penguins game with better breakouts and more backend support in the offensive zone.
“We’re hitting a bump in the road here like all teams do,” goalie Matt Murray said. “It’s going to make us stronger in the long run. It’ll be tough to get through this one, for sure, but we’ve got the character to do it.”
But the returns of the injured players alone will not be enough to course correct the Penguins ills.