The Pittsburgh Penguins lost back-to-back games against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night (2-1) and the Carolina Hurricanes (4-2) on Thursday night. Despite the losses, they still retained 1st place in the Atlantic Division, however they are just 1-point ahead of the New Jersey Devils who have a game in hand against the Penguins. Both games frustrated the Penguins who struggled to find the offensive flair that they had exhibited in their previous 3-games. Workhouse Evgeni Malkin continued his scoring streak, but picked up just one point (goals) in each game after delivering 5-straight multi-point games.
On Wednesday night, the Penguins finished out their 4-game home stand as they hosted the Boston Bruins. The Penguins, rested since a Sunday win over the Flyers, were outplayed by the Bruins who were playing their 2nd game in 2-nights. The Bruins did a tremendous job of clogging up the neutral zone and preventing the Penguins entry into the offensive zone. This forced the Penguins to dump the puck and try to win the chase into the corners, but they were often beat to play by the Bruins. It resulted in few scoring opportunities for the Penguins who were outshot 33-21, including a 13-4 1st period in favor of the Bruins. Goaltender Ty Conklin kept them in the game, despite giving up 2-goals in the lopsided 1st period, but he Penguins were only able to muster 1-goal in the latter half of the 3rd period off from the stick of Evgeni Malkin. Petr Sykora and Jordan Staal picked up the assists. The final score was 2-1, Bruins.
On Thursday night, there was no love for the Penguins on Valentine’s day as they lost to Carolina 4-2. While the Penguins played a bit better than they did on Wednesday night, they were dominated by the Hurricanes who outshot them 46-22. The Hurricanes were playing with an injury depleted roster, and lost the services of Rod Brind’Amour to a knee injury early in the game. The Penguins frustration was evident, particularly with Evgeni Malkin who found the net once, but was played very physically by the Canes and was stymied seevral times. The Penguins continued to struggle with poor puck decisions, with several turnovers resulting by bad passes onto the sticks of the Hurricanes’ offense. The Penguins found an unlikely goal in th e1st period off from the stick of Brooks Orpik, his 1st of the season, from Colby Armstrong and Jarkko Ruutu. Then in the 2nd, Evgeni Malkin picked up an unassisted goal to put the Penguins up 2-1. Despite getting 6-man advantage opportunities, the Penguins were only able to capitalize on one (Malkin’s goal). Despite giving up 4-goals, Dany Sabourin made 42 saves for a 0.913 save percentage.
The Penguins get a few days off before traveling to Buffalo on Sunday to take on the Sabres.