Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Colorado Avalanche: What We Learned
What We Learned From The Avalanche-Penguins Game
The Pittsburgh Penguins dropped their first game of the season at home, being shutout by the Colorado Avalanche 1-0. Jean-Sebastian Giguere continued his hot start to the season, posting his second shutout of the season, making 34 saves.
It was the much-anticipated first matchup of Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby, who are both from the hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, a small town of about 25,000. Both players were first-overall picks, and both players have unbelievable expectations to raise their teams to the top of the hockey world.
Crosby has already done it and is a mainstay on top of the hockey landscape. MacKinnon is supposec to carry his team back to relevance. They currently have their teams atop of the standings.
Neither player registered a point as Gabriel Landeskog scored the game’s only goal after coming out of the penalty box.
Due to the high amount of penalties (a combined 10 power play opportunities, seven from the Penguins) and the overwhelming shot differential, the game had a hard time getting any rhythm going, but it still provided a great game and fans will look forward to their next matchup against each other.
The Penguins now currently sit at 7-2 atop the Metropolitan Division and will face the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders over the weekend. Colorado only trails the San Jose Sharks in overall points league-wise.
After suffering a tough loss to the Avalanche, here are five things that we learned from the Penguins-Avalanche game.
5. Colorado's Goaltending Is Good
Yeah, it's a little obvious, but when your backup goalie has two shutouts against two of the best teams in the league, you’re in pretty good shape. I wrote about how the Avalanche’s goaltending was the real reason for their success, and we saw it again live against the Penguins. If the goaltending can pick this up, the Avs will go from last place to a playoff appearance.
4. Could MAF Be In Line For A Rough Stretch?
I posted something on Twitter last night during the game, wondering if this was the most uncomfortable Marc-Andre Fleury looked thus far this season. The one thing with Fleury is that you can usually see a rough spell coming from him, sometimes a few games in advance. When he is uncomfortable, he allows rebounds he usually doesn’t, flops around the net more and doesn’t see the puck as well. This was Fleury’s first loss of the year, coming off allowing his first ‘Fleury’ type of goal against the Vancouver Canucks. Let’s hope that he can get his head together over the next three days off.
3. Defense Took Too Many Shots
I like Rob Scuderi. I do. I thought it was a good signing for the Penguins and his simple style of play is one of the reasons why the Penguins are doing so well defensively. Plain and simple though, offense is not his strong suit. The same goes for Robert Bortuzzo. The Avalanche did a good job of crowding the net, making it hard for the Penguins to get pucks to net. Sometimes, the defenseman were forced to take bad shots, but at some point when they aren’t getting the pucks through, they should have pushed the puck back deep behind the net and looked for something else. The Penguins' defensemen combined for five missed shots and had countless shots blocked.
2. Evgeni Malkin Is Struggling Without Real Help
I guess I am in the minority in saying that even though he is at a point-per-game pace at the moment, Evgeni Malkin is not having a strong season. The only thing that keeps him from dominating at all times is that he just can’t accept that sometimes, you have to take the easy play instead of trying to make the perfect pass or highlight reel deke. That’s what causes the majority of his mistakes. It’s an admirable trait, but sometimes he just has to settle for what they give him. Malkin did play better in both ends last night, but it has become apparent that until he gets James Neal back, he won’t be the same player. Whether or not that’s something you want to hear about a player that is about to get paid $9.5 million over the next eight years is a completely different conversation.
1. Don't Give Last Night Too Much Thought
It’s easy to try and break down and analyze what happened to the Penguins. The more I thought about it, the more I realized, what is the point? It was nothing the Pens did; they peppered the net with shots, they actually got some traffic around the net, but Giguere just had one of those games. The team should move on, forget about it and get ready for the Islanders. If they continue that game plan, they will still win more than they lose.