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Penguins Report Card: Jarry Brilliant, Penguins Stink in 3rd Straight Loss (+)

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Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby

The New Jersey Devils should have been the tonic to cure what ailed the Pittsburgh Penguins. Instead, the cure worsened the sickness, and the Penguins lost their third straight game, 4-2, to New Jersey.

I’m not saying the second period was ugly.

That would be an insult to ugly.

It was like when Grandma tried to make my Halloween costume at the last moment (because I hated my Big Bird costume) by cutting holes in a pumpkin placemat and tying a rubber-band, er, gum band to the back and told me I was The Great Pumpkin (weird things scarred me).

It was that bad.

“It’s always an interesting dynamic when you bring players back into the lineup. The challenge is to continue to play the game. Everybody has to think in terms of trying to make an impact on the game, a positive impact on the game,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. “I just didn’t think we did that as a team.”

The Penguins ceded the second period to New Jersey as several aspects of their game were stout in the first five games of the season disappeared. Several of those systemic features were gone, like the Great Pumpkin…

The Penguins tight puck support evaporated. Even in the first period, the Penguins were spread out. An open and loose structure replaced those five-foot simple ups and traveling in packs. New Jersey, like any team, exploited the Penguins’ gaps and isolated the puck. Without help and support, the Penguins could not get enough great chances on a soft Devils team.

As usual, the Pittsburgh Penguins fourth line lit the way. Heinen crashed the net with others, and there was a greasy goal waiting. Huh.

“We kept it really simple,” Heinen said.

The Penguins abandoned their forecheck like last year’s candy in the second period. New Jersey was able to carry the puck with speed up and down the ice. The Penguins–all four lines–were more spectators than participants.

“I thought we pushed in the third period. We started playing in the third period. But for me, we weren’t good enough. We weren’t good enough tonight as a team. We need to be better as a team in all areas,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “And I just thought our attention to detail wasn’t as good. I don’t think we were skating. We weren’t playing the game on our toes…”

Crosby was hard on himself. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t bad, either. Let’s give him a few games, eh?

Pittsburgh Penguins Report Card:

Tristan Jarry: A+

To “only” allow three goals is a victory. Jarry was on his head.

“He was really good…” Sullivan said.

Kasperi Kapanen: D

If I bothered to buy milk, his picture might be on the back of the carton. He had three shots and two takeaways, yet his naturally prominent game lacked anything resembling an impact.

Kapanen remains goalless this season and has not contributed a point during the losing streak.

Jason Zucker: C-

Perhaps Sullivan puts Zucker on the same line as Kapanen, so both of his tantalizing good players who are more frustrating than productive only take up one of every four shifts.

Zucker had four shots and one takeaway. At times, he made a bit of an impact, but the line with Jeff Carter was like the house that gives away popcorn balls and candy corn. Yeah, you got something, but you still want to throw eggs.

Danton Heinen: A

I really liked his game. He brought the offense to the grinding, greasy game with Brian Boyle and Drew O’Connor. I wondered how the line would fare without Dominik Simon. The first go-round was a solid effort: one goal and two scoring chances vs. only one chance against. 

Juuso Riikola: B

Riikola will never be a coach’s favorite because he still makes too many minor mistakes in the defensive zone. He didn’t make any glaring boo-boos, but he did leave his station a couple of times.

He also did well to create the Penguins first goal.

My gut says the Penguins may be showcasing our favorite mustached Finn, but we’ll see. He was solid in his first game since early last season. He probably earned more time, unless this game was about sending a message to Mark Friedman, whose play has waned.

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Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda (@pozone)
1 month ago

These are the new and old Pens. I said this summer the only team they might finish ahead of is the Blue Jackets. They need to make a few trades and start the rebuild. Hexy don’t fool yourself or the fans this is a bad team!

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
1 month ago

Play Riikola game after game after game after game…

Steve Malik
Steve Malik
1 month ago
Reply to  Mark Fisher

Get the King’s to take him

Steve
Steve
1 month ago

I find the worst spot for a sports team is the edge of the playoffs, talent wise. Not very good, not much hope, and kinda boring. Shame Poulin and Legare didn’t make it. At least it’d be fun.

C Daniel
C Daniel
1 month ago

It felt like parts of the playoff series v the Islanders (the breakaways) except for Jarry being better.

Iwasiam
Iwasiam
1 month ago

Jarry brilliant??? Did you see the puck pop up and he tried to catch it, missed and fell on his a$$, all while outside the blue. Luckily someone cleared it. Some of those break away shots were either wide or never came near him. Don’t forget all those post that got rung.
Jarry did better than his usual at best but not Brilliant. Sad but I think everyone is getting used to Desmith and Jarrys screwups so much that this is now A+ brilliant.
Pens we’re facing the Devil’s backup and he looked way better than Jarry to me.

Steve Malik
Steve Malik
1 month ago

Couple of bounces and all you negative people might shut up

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly (@donny)
1 month ago

At some point, Marino needs to get graded as well. He lurched at a couple of pucks leading to a shorthanded goal against and a number of breakaways. Consecutive games. I like the kid too, but he has to show himself as a solid defenseman first.

Frank
Frank
1 month ago

Wait a minute. Wasn’t it here when the team was 3-0-2 that I read they would have trouble and problems figuring who to play. That it just showed that Malkin was not missed and they were on the cusp of greatness. LOL! At that time I mentioned that it was a little premature to be defining how good this team was. And now I see all the critics are back in full throat. There are some simple truths. If you are waiting for Hextall to “fix” problems 8 games into the season you are in for a long wait. If… Read more »

Iwasiam
Iwasiam
1 month ago
Reply to  Frank

Actually the article and the posts were about grading players from just last night’s game.

Dave Heyl
Dave Heyl
1 month ago

Red Wing, Blackhawks now the Pens version of Father Time remaining undefeated!

jackw
jackw (@jackw)
1 month ago

This game shouldn’t cause anyone to give up all hope, but it should be a wake up call. For those of you that think that it’s possible to trade away star players to build a Cup winning team with reasonably good players and draft picks around Crosby and “Sully’s genius” – you’re kidding yourselves. If you dump guys like Malkin and Letang then this is the kind of team you’re going to be looking at. And I don’t know why Crosby would want to finish his career surrounded by that. Even the greatest player of his generation can’t do it… Read more »

Edgar
Edgar (@edgar)
1 month ago
Reply to  jackw

You’d get a few 1st round picks for those guys and a chance at rebuilding with Crosby. Otherwise, might as well go full tank.

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