Penguins Grades: Sullivan Changes, Pens Attack But Missing One Thing (+)
Beleagured Pittsburgh Penguins center Jeff Carter zipped around the offensive zone. The former fan favorite, now a target of considerable fan angst, used his long reach for a nearly perfect wraparound on Ottawa Senators goalie Dylan Ferguson. Carter had not scored since February 26. Ferguson had not started an NHL game since 2017-18 for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Carter beat Ferguson. The puck poked neatly through the five-hole. And … it bounced just wide of the far post.
The Penguins thoroughly dominated puck possession, earning a 48-21 shots advantage. And yet they trailed for 55 minutes.
They even tied the game later in the third period.
“For whatever reason, the last couple of games, it’s been a struggle to score,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “I thought tonight we had an awful lot of looks, really high-quality looks, and the puck didn’t go in the net for us. These guys care. They want to win. They’re trying.”
Then lost 2-1 when Drake Batherson’s shot hit both posts and trickled in behind goalie Tristan Jarry.
The Penguins have a black magic or bad juju engulfing their 2022-23 season. If it can go wrong, it will. The team flirts with disaster more than Molly Hatchet. And inexplicably, every mistake seems to find its home in the Penguins’ net while their chances trickle wide.
Despite domination, puck control, and playing nearly the entire game in the offensive zone, they trailed for most of it.
And while their chances bounced wide or nestled softly in the confines of Ferguson’s crest, Drake Batherson took advantage of Bryan Rust’s injured arm and hit both posts before the puck bounced off Tristan Jarry into the net.
Bad luck? Yes. The hockey gods served a steaming plate of it Monday.
But the Penguins didn’t do enough when they had the chance. The report card circles the one big thing they didn’t do.