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Penguins Confidence Tanks: Analysis & Report Card vs. San Jose

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Kris Letang Pittsburgh Penguins

Patrick Marleau rang the post with a shoveled deflection in the second period. Dominik Simon ripped a wrist shot from the left-wing circle, which clanged off the post, and Penguins captain Sidney Crosby missed a yawning cage, too. The Pittsburgh Penguins missed opportunities deflated the team as much as the San Jose Sharks success with their chances. In the end, the Penguins accepted their fate, as they were chum in a 5-0 shutout to San Jose at SAP Arena on Saturday.

That’s six losses in a row.

The Penguins first period was a mixed menu of good efforts and mistakes. The period devolved into firewagon hockey later in the first period, but at least the Penguins began to transition against an opponent. The Penguins had numbers in the offensive zone on a few rushes but were not able to get the clean look needed to light the lamp.

“As you can only imagine, (Confidence) is not at an all-time high,” head coach Mike Sullivan deadpanned.

Defenders blocked Conor Sheary, and Bryan Rust missed from point-blank range. Later, Dominik Simon and Patrick Marleau squarely hit posts, and Sidney Crosby pushed a putback wide of an open net.

The Penguins showed a couple of short bursts of the oppressive energy and speed, which has been their hallmark this season.

“This one’s different. We just weren’t very good tonight. It’s my responsibility to try to get this team playing to its capabilities,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “We know we’re a good team if we play the game the right way, and we got away from it tonight. I believe in the group of players that we have. I know we’re a much better team than we’ve shown. And we’ve got to find a way to work together to make that happen.”

Early in the game, positive efforts were most noticeable on the Penguins blue line. Kris Letang made a pair of solid defensive plays, including a goal-saving stick check on Marcus Sorensen in the crease. Justin Schultz also made a trio of smart pinches to keep the possession arrow in the Penguins favor. In the first few minutes, he jumped forward at the red line to intercept a breakout pass and carry it into the zone. He pushed forward on the wall to keep possession, too.

But…

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now owner, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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