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Penguins Wrap: Down, Then Up, Then Down Again



Pittsburgh Penguins, Evgeni Malkin

The Pittsburgh Penguins started last week by ending a losing streak.

They finished it by starting another.

After pulling out of a 0-4-2 skid by defeating Arizona and Vancouver, the Penguins were beaten by Winnipeg and Carolina on consecutive days, disrupting whatever momentum they might have been building.

A look back at the past six days:


The Penguins snapped their six-game losing streak with a 4-1 victory at Arizona Sunday, but their power-play slump stretched to 0-for-21. Here’s one proposal for how it might start producing to the potential of its personnel.

Jason Zucker has been playing some pretty good hockey this season, now that he’s healthy. He’s also an important presence in the locker room, with a knack for keeping things loose.


The Penguins got off to a miserable start in their game against Vancouver, but quickly turned things around in what became a 5-4 victory at PPG Paints Arena.

Evgeni Malkin’s four-point game was a major factor in the Penguins’ come-from-behind victory over the Canucks.

Backup goalie Dustin Tokarski said he was nervous when called upon to replace Casey DeSmith after the Penguins spotted Vancouver a 3-0 lead. It didn’t show in his work.

The Penguins’ trip home from Arizona included a detour to Montreal to spend time with Kris Letang, who was grieving the death of his father.

Three injured players — goalie Tristan Jarry, defenseman Jeff Petry and winger Josh Archibald — had an on-ice workout before their teammates’ optional game-day skate.


Which third-line centers might be available in the trade market, and what price should the Penguins pay to acquired one?

Mark Friedman gets sent back to Wilkes-Barre, while Tristan Jarry and Ryan Poehling take a trip to injured-reserve.


A defense corps already missing Kris Letang and Jeff Petry faced the possibility of being without a third right-handed defenseman, Jan Rutta, after he is given a “maintenance day,” even though the Penguins had Wednesday off.

Injured goalie Tristan Jarry worked out on the ice again, but didn’t look like a guy whose return to the lineup is imminent.

A day after sending Friedman to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins summoned Taylor Fedun — also a right-shot defenseman — from the Baby Penguins.


The Pittsburgh Penguins did not put up much of a fight — well, except for the one Jason Zucker was in — during a 4-1 loss to Winnipeg at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins had a lot more opinions about what went wrong against the Jets than they did answers for anything Winnipeg was doing on the ice. (+)

Could Ty Smith’s performance since being recalled from Wilkes-Barre have an impact on how the Pittsburgh Penguins approach the NHL trade deadline?

That didn’t take long. Just a couple of days after being returned to Wilkes-Barre, Friedman was back in Pittsburgh. And even in the lineup, when Marcus Pettersson could not play because of illness.


The Pittsburgh Penguins’ sputtering power play let them down again, as it failed to score on an extended two-man advantage in what became a 2-1 loss at Carolina.

Penguins players earned mixed reviews for their performance against the Hurricanes.

So, why exactly has the power play become so ineffective after scoring at least once in each of the first 10 games in December? The Penguins had a few thoughts about that.

Pettersson didn’t accompany his teammates to Carolina for the game, but Mike Sullivan offered a somewhat optimistic update on Tristan Jarry.