Mark Madden: Stubborn Penguins in danger of missing playoffs

The Penguins are in bother. It’s not too quickly to say that.

In truth, it could get late early.

Whatever can go unsuitable, is. Their current seven-game dropping streak is the headliner.

But the satan is in the Penguins’ particulars, and the New Jersey Devils are 13-3. They did not make the playoffs final 12 months. They will this 12 months. The New York Islanders may match that description, too. That’s dangerous information for the native staff.

The Penguins misplaced a one-goal lead 3 times in Saturday’s 5-4 time beyond regulation loss at Montreal. They have wasted leads epically, most notably a 5-2 edge in a 6-5 house loss to Boston Nov. 1 and a 3-1 benefit in a 6-3 defeat at Buffalo the following evening.

The Penguins conceded objectives in the primary and final minutes of the second interval throughout Tuesday’s 5-2 house loss to Toronto.

Sidney Crosby’s line was on the ice for all 5 objectives allowed vs. the Maple Leafs.

Botched pinches and activating defensemen gifted the Leafs frequent odd-man breaks.

Defensive-zone protection was putrid. On Toronto’s first purpose, John Tavares appeared momentarily confused by the point and area he had when he obtained the puck in the slot.

The Penguins are 6-7-3 and 4 factors out of the Eastern Conference’s second and remaining wild-card berth. That would not look like lots. But there are 5 groups between the Penguins and that spot. The loser level turns catching up into treading sludge.

The Penguins’ plummet isn’t a brand new improvement.

As hockey author Josh Yohe notes on Twitter, the Penguins are 16-20-5 since final season’s commerce deadline. That’s 41 video games, a half-season, and it is a 74-point tempo. Yuck.

The greatest drawback: The Penguins aren’t quick anymore. Worse but, they assume they’re.

They’re quick sufficient to take care of groups which are equally ageing out, like Washington. But Toronto, for instance, raced by and across the Penguins all evening Tuesday. The distinction in pace towards, say, Edmonton is embarrassing.

This area has usually urged that these older Penguins amend their high-octane, always-attack type.

Now, that suggestion is not a couple of mere tweak. It’s about survival.

But they will not do it. That was once more evident Saturday at Montreal.

On Friday, the Penguins properly managed the third interval of their victory at Toronto. They obtained the puck deep and cycled down low.

On Saturday, they did the alternative and stored blowing leads. They are decided to be hanged with their very own rope.

That’s to be revered, in an odd sense. It’s simply understood in the context of conserving the core of Crosby, Kris Letang and Evgeni Malkin collectively. The Penguins’ core and coach Mike Sullivan will probably be true to their imaginative and prescient, and to what as soon as labored so gloriously.

Even as they go splat.

Even Friday’s largely well-managed win at Toronto contained what’s now a typical Penguins second.

With roughly 5 minutes left and the Penguins up by one, defenseman Chad Ruhwedel joined the frenzy. The puck turned over and Toronto obtained an odd-man break, one which was foiled by the Penguins frantically chasing again.

Ruhwedel has 11 objectives in 271 NHL video games. His offensive expertise are lower than marginal. Why is he becoming a member of the frenzy ever, not to mention in that state of affairs? Same goes for half their defensive corps.

Because that is how the Penguins play. That’s their system.

They will experience all of it the way in which to hell.

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