The Rink Report: Pens Disappoint with Back-to-Back Losses

Written By Anthony Cugini, Sports Columnist

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost their second game in a row after a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Saturday. The Pens defense wasn’t pretty. The Devils had countless two-on-one opportunities with a few of them leading to goals. 

Due to poor passing, the Pens gave the Devils a golden two-on-one chance. Devil’s captain Nico Hishcier scored off of a stellar pass from Yegor Sharangovich to extend the Devils lead to 3-1 while the Penguins were on a power play.

Their lack of defense bit them on multiple occasions and proved to be their Achilles’ heel. Evgeni Malkin was the only Pittsburgh player to find the net as he scored the only two goals of the night for the Penguins.The loss to New Jersey adds to a disappointing run for Pittsburgh. The Penguins had a massive breakdown to end the game against the Islanders on Friday, which finished in a 5-4 loss.

The Penguins held a comfortable 4-2 lead with just over a minute left in the second period. As the time drained to 28 seconds left in the period the Pens allowed a goal. 

This foreshadowed a series of mishaps as the Penguins went on to concede a pair of goals in the third period.

On a more positive note, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby is on an absolute tear. Crosby finished with a pair of points on Friday to increase his season total to 67. Crosby is currently on pace to finish the season with 100 points.This would be the first time he recorded a 100-point season since the 2018-2019 season. It would also be only the seventh time he hit the century mark in his 18-year career. 

The Penguins can’t continue on their downhill spiral if they want to make the playoff. This would be their first time missing the playoffs in seventeen years. Pittsburgh goaltender Tristan Jarry has skated recently and looks to be near returning from injury. If Jarry can stay healthy, the Pens’ chances of winning will increase significantly.

The Pens have a daunting task ahead of them as they have four games in the next seven days. Pittsburgh will begin the week by looking for revenge against the New York Islanders. Then the Penguins will face the Edmonton Oilers, St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning. The good news for the Penguins is that starting goaltender Tristan Jarry is set to return this week, with an expected return date set for Monday against the same Islanders they lost to earlier this week. The hope is that Jarry will be able to help bolster the Penguins defense, and gets hot at the right time to propel Pittsburgh towards the playoffs. Embrace the race.