It has been called bad luck, being snake-bitten, or bounces not rolling your way. These are very common phrases used when people discuss why their favorite team is not scoring goals in the NHL. The Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans could have used any one of these terms coming into the current stretch of games they have this weekend.
Before their game against the Nashville Predators on Friday night, the Penguins could not buy a regulation goal. The team seemed to be trying to make the perfect play to make one of the highlight-reel type goals that this team has been known to do. This has been one of the causes for their recent goalless streak.
During the game on Friday night, the Penguins color analyst Bob Errey asked Pens forward James Neal what they needed to do to score goals on Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec. Neal replied by saying, “I don’t know much about him, but I imagine he does not like traffic in front of him.”
This is something that the Penguins used to their advantage in that game, and I feel is crucial for the Penguins to continue to do in the upcoming games, especially Saturday against the New Jersey Devils. Goals by redirection or blocking the goalie’s view are not always the pretty goals you see on ESPN, but they still count on the scoreboard.
Another thing that the Penguins need to continue to do is shoot the puck. Look, I am not one of those guys that sit in front of the TV shouting, “shoot the puck! Why don’t they just shoot the puck?” I know you cannot always just shoot the puck, but they need to start shooting more.
There is the old sports saying that goes, “You will miss 100 percent of the shots you do not take.” The Penguins began to shoot the puck against the Predators and need to continue to do that Saturday when they take on the Devils.
The Devils have always been a team that forces teams to play fundamentally good hockey. If the Penguins can get people in front of the net and blind Hall-of-Fame goalie Martin Brodeur and pepper him with shots, I feel that the Pens will begin to get rolling again. This also will be what stars Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and James Neal need for the points to start coming again.