Midway through the third period, Phil Kessel has been on the ice for 14 scoring chances…12 of those were against the Penguins. During the second period, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was seen barking in Kessel’s direction. The Penguins didn’t find their stride until the fourth line asserted itself in the third period with a pair of goals.
But…another neutral zone turnover popped the Penguins balloon. And they lost. Again. To the Ottawa Senators. They’ve lost eight of nine.
If you have any question how opponents currently view the Pittsburgh Penguins, simply know this–the normally conservative, retreating Ottawa Senators aggressively pressed the Penguins. Ottawa had no fear of the mighty Penguins.
The healthy Penguins stars were anything but leaders or stars. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel were in trouble. Kessel was not only on the ice for 12 scoring chances against, but 10 of those were also high-danger chances.
Malkin was not much better and took another bad penalty.
The Penguins have abandoned the cycle play which brought them some success in late October and early November. The Penguins insistence on offense from the rush despite opponents steadfast defense of it remains a sticking point.
Turnovers in the neutral zone and the defensive zone were the torpedoes to an already sinking ship.