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Exhausted Penguins Stumble, Report Card vs. Florida

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Pittsburgh Penguins Bryan Rust and Dominik Kahun

An engine can run on borrowed parts and repairs for only so long. Of course, for those who are growing up with electric engines, please disregard the combustion engine comparison. In the three games since the Pittsburgh Penguins lost winger Jake Guentzel, they’ve scored just one goal in the first 40 minutes of each game. The Penguins tried but they just couldn’t fire up the engine against the Florida Panthers and lost 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Also, the 22-hour turnaround on back-to-back games and travel through US customs last night mightily contributed to the Penguins flatline effort. The tired legs and mistakes, anyway.

“I think given the circumstances, we should have kept the game more simple than we did,” said Bryan Rust. “I think early on, we weren’t quite making the crisp plays and we were turning pucks over and that put us on our heels. We tried to recover, but they’re a good team.”

The simple and painful truth is the Pittsburgh Penguins cannot roll four lines which are capable of offensive pressure. The Penguins are a one-line team, with intermittent pressure from their middle lines, currently centered by Jared McCann and Teddy Blueger. When the Penguins top line is short or isn’t dominant, the offense falls to a lot of talented defensive players.

Sunday night, the Simon-McCann-Hornqvist line stacked chances and scored the Penguins lone goal. Or should it read, “but scored only one goal,”?

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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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