The Rink Report: Penguins look to get back on track in second half

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

As the second half of the NHL season begins, the Pittsburgh Penguins will look to get back on track after losing their last four games.

Before the All-star break, the Penguins had lost their last four games with three of those being lost in overtime.

In their final game before the break, Pittsburgh lost to the Washington Capitals 4-3 in overtime. The Pens’ stars came to play as Bryan Rust scored twice with Evgeni Malkin getting the other goal. Jake Guentzel finished with three assists while Sidney Crosby also had two of his own.

The Penguins power play unit was on fire as all three of their goals were scored with the man advantage. On paper, the Pens power play unit should score every time. With stars such as Crosby, Malkin and Letang, the power play is no doubt a strong area for Pittsburgh.

Throughout this losing streak, Pittsburgh has had to rely on their stars to produce all of the goal scoring. In the last four games, Pittsburgh’s only goal scorers have been Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. While it’s nice to see the stars of the team produce, other players need to step up.

Both Kaspari Kapanen and Evan Rodrigues have hit a cold streak as neither of them has recorded a point in the last four games. The two wingers were a big reason why Pittsburgh has had so much success this year as both are on track for a career high in points.

If Pittsburgh is going to get back to their winning ways, they must find production from somewhere else other than their stars. A player who could provide that spark could be someone such as Radim Zohorna.

Zohorna has been a fourth-liner for Pittsburgh as they’ve dealt with some injuries. The 25-year old stands at six foot six and has recorded six points in his 14 career NHL games. These are pretty good stats for a player who only sees the ice for about 10 minutes a game. Zohorna could be one of the players who steps up for Pittsburgh as they push for better playoff seeding.

The Penguins have a tough first game after the break as they head to Boston to take on the Bruins. Boston will look to get hot as they currently sit in a wild card spot at the halfway point.

After the trip to Boston, Pittsburgh will travel to Ottawa, then New Jersey, as they take on two struggling teams in the Senators and Devils. Pittsburgh will have a perfect opportunity to gain confidence and pick up steam as they head into the homestretch of the regular season.