Yohe’s Ten Notes: The penguins win, but this doesn’t sound like a win

Pittsburgh – When doesn’t a win really feel like a win?

Oh penguins He managed to win Anaheim Monday at PPG Paints Arena. They did it in a dramatic way, too. Brian Rust To tie it with 24 seconds remaining, he scored Jake Guentzel He scored in overtime to give the Penguins a 4-3 win.

This is the good news. And, to the penguins’ credit, they got away with two points on a night they were desperate. They were playing without defensemen Chris LetangAnd Jeff Petrie And Jan Rotawhich cannot be ignored.

Still …

It’s hard to be a compliment to this performance.

The Penguins have struggled mightily at times against a very likely Ducks team NHLworst. Anaheim is a horrible team and went into the game having been outscored 93-47 on the road.

However, the Penguins failed to protect a 2-1 lead in the third period, allowing two late goals for Anaheim to take a 3-2 advantage.

Along the way, the Penguins blew up defensive zone coverage, getting no great saves from them Casey Desmith When they were needed, they were allowed to make several individual breaks, took two penalty kicks on the run, and generally played a sloppy and unimpressive game.

“I’m happy we won the match,” Brian Dumoulin He said. “Sometimes you just need to win the game. We didn’t play our best, but we showed some heart coming back the way we did.”

That’s fair, but the penguins were far from good.

Jason Zucker And Evgeny Malkin He scored to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead over two periods.

Next is the series Home and Home with Senators Starting in Ottawa on Wednesday.

10 post-game notes

• The penguins must count their lucky stars that they won this game. If they lost, it would be panic time. And rightly so.

Maybe it should be anyway.

When you get into a game out of playoff position, and you played as bad as the Penguins last month, you can’t lose to a team as bad as the Ducks. You just can’t. If you think that must-win games don’t exist in January, you’re wrong. These are trying times, and it’s safe to say that Rust’s goal was among the biggest this season for the struggling Penguins.

Rust has scored more goals than most. Maybe you believe in the “clutch,” or maybe you don’t. I do. I think Rost has that gene and it wasn’t a shock to see him score in such a big moment.

It was a frustrating season for Rast and he joked afterwards that it was also a frustrating game. Rust missed two of the gap cages. To his credit, he rose to the occasion as he often does.

Guentzel made a great pass on goal. These two really saved the day.

• Penguins play with no confidence at all.

They are saying positive things and presenting the image of a team that is not shaken by its game. I feel like the team is in denial.

Even though they pumped 45 rounds into the Whitehall citizen John GibsonThey were never in control of this game. They seemed hesitant at times. They were afraid of making mistakes. And when you’re afraid of making mistakes, you often do.

The penguins’ lack of confidence is particularly evident in their power play. They had a two-man advantage at 1:40 into the second half, and not only did they not score, but Gentzel took a penalty that nullified the advantage.

We see far too many players in this team’s content to return the puck to the opponent in the neutral zone rather than making a play to create a transitional attack. Part of this is the individuals. Part of it is the annoying team penguins.

• The Penguins were so lacking in attention to detail that, playing against the fearsome Ducks, they allowed only eight seconds into the game.

Is that true.

The Ducks missed the early opportunity to score, but we saw a comedy of errors from the Penguins. Turnovers led to scoring opportunities. In overtime, they allowed two to zero and the game might have been lost by that moment. But, Trevor Zygrass Separation died, waiting Cam Fowler to make it two over zero. Zagras, who had a great evening, should have simply gone for the kill rather than be selfless. Chance derailed at that moment.

This resulted in Crosby and Guentzel getting a two-on-one that put the ducks away.

The penguins were lucky.

Also, the Penguins’ defensive zone coverage was very poor in the third period. They gave up a few looks in the third appearance and almost exclusively had the puck. But when Anaheim pressed on, the Penguins were in pretty bad shape.

• It was another embarrassing night for the Power of the Penguins play.

Guentzel and Richard Raquel Both had painful penalties while the Penguins had a man’s advantage. It is unacceptable. Guentzel’s penalty came when the Penguins were in the offensive zone and up two men. They still have 40 seconds left on the two-man advantage.

Raquel was just as bad: He simply brought down a defender behind the Anaheim net.

It’s quite understandable that penguins are frustrated by their power play struggles. I hope they are because it’s terrible. But you cannot take such penalties.

On a side note, I’ve been watching out for the power play tonight. At one point, while the Penguins had a 20-second period of possession in Ducks territory, not a Penguins member ran within 30 feet of the goal.

This is not how power play goals are scored.

Sidney Crosby He had a brutal game by his standards. He didn’t seem comfortable with the ball all evening, had only two shots on goal and committed a turnover that led to Anaheim’s tying goal in the third period.

Something happened in Crosby’s game. Since the Christmas break, it has not been the same player. In 10 games since the first half, Crosby has scored just two goals and six points. He’s been held to no points in six of those 10 games and would have been ruled out in this game had Rast not tied the game late on.

History says he’ll be totally fine, but Crosby needs to start playing better. This team just isn’t good enough for him to get into a prolonged state of funk.

• Malkin has both legs and was easily the best player for the Penguins on Monday.

I loved his game in the rally on Saturday and moved on to this one. Malkin and Zucker have great chemistry and have been harmonizing with each other throughout the match.

Malkin has a way of holding the penguins when they are fighting. I wrote recently that I’m not sure Malkin is a player who can carry it around much longer, though it remains very effective. Maybe I underestimated it. He was a beast during this game. We’re seeing signs of the old Malkin’s reappearance.

• Too many defensemen play long minutes. Even Mike Sullivan said after the game that the Penguins had some players in “uncomfortable” positions due to how much they are being asked to play with several members of the blue line injured.

Mark Friedman 16 minutes played. Chad Rohwedl 16 minutes played. Dumoulin play 22:40.

Maybe that’s too many minutes for all of them.

• The Penguins desperately need Letang in their lineup. Sullivan said before the game that Letang would join the Penguins soon. He was in Montreal grieving the death of his father. He was also dealing with a lower body injury but it was not thought to be serious. I can only assume he will meet the Penguins in Ottawa on Wednesday.

This is the thing about Letang. It’s crazy, isn’t it? Especially this season, he’s been horribly frustrated and hasn’t played his best hockey. When you watch the penguins play without him, you realize that the penguins need him. They also need him to be at his best. All eyes will be on him when he returns.

Danton Heinen He was a healthy scratch in the distinguished lineup Jonathan Groden (He was completely solid in his seven-minute NHL debut), Caspri KabaninAnd Drew O’Connor And a number of other attackers who do not fill the network with any regularity.

That’s all you need to know about Heinen’s latest performance.

• The penguins don’t seem to be shaken. Maybe it’s arrogance. Maybe it’s denial. Maybe they know something we don’t. It was the same issue after this game. All is well. We’ve had them all the way.

Is everything alright? I don’t think it is.

I feel some strength would benefit this team. Other than Zucker, I don’t see enough of him.

(Photo by Brian Rust, left, and Ricard Raquel celebrating Rust’s goal in the third period: Charles LeClair/USA Today)

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