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Fatigued Pens blanked by Philly

The early second period tally by Couturier would be all the offense needed on the night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins failed to register a point for the first time in 6 games as the slept walked into Wells Fargo Center and stumbled out with a 4-0 loss.

A couple of reasons that the boys looked flatter than your first girlfriend?  Injuries and travel, the team was at the tail end of a trip that put them through four-time zones in four days.  They also stopped back in Pittsburgh instead of going straight to Philly to try to avoid the great snowstorm that battered us.

Hey, at least we all have enough eggs, milk, and bread for a month….right?

Factor all of the variables in and a performance like this was long over due.  Add in that yet ANOTHER Penguin player went down (Ron Hainsey after taking a puck to the hand late in the second.) and you should be impressed that Pittsburgh earned seven out of 10 points on the long trip.

But they lost to the Flyers, who had lost 3 straight games before last night, so the loss is tougher to take.

They boo’d and cat-called Sidney Crosby, winner of everything humanly possible in the sport of hockey.  so it left you irritated.

They were shut out by STEVE MASON…..a guy who normally couldn’t blank a high school team, so you swore a couple of times when he stoned Evgeni Malkin in the first.  Mason finished with 23 saves on the night.

Claude Giroux scored, putting what amounted to the end to the game, late in the third…….ok, you can get mad over that one.  That guy annoys everyone.

The power play looked terrible, going 1-12 during the last few games of the trip.  Mostly last night the power play unit spent a good amount of time chasing the puck and defending shorthanded rushes by the Flyers

It kept hope the faint flicker of the Flyers playoff dreams, ones that a loss last night would have all but ended.  so you kicked your dog.  BTW, not advocating kicking animals here, it’s just an old saying.  We all know what happens when PETA gets on the case….

PETA Furious About Live Penguins Being Put Onto Ice During Stadium Series

So it was a night of angst, and if you didn’t fire off a regrettable post on social media when Wayne Simmonds scored what seemed to be his 100th careen power play goal against the Penguins from the oh-so-familiar spot of right in the goalies kitchen.  You felt frustrated and bitter at a loss to the cross state mouth breathers.

Hey, Jakub Voracek didn’t score…..that’s a plus!

RELAX

The Penguins still sit comfortably in the upper echelon of the NHL and will be playing meaningful hockey in 5 weeks.

The injured players will be back.  In fact GM Jim Rutherford gave a positive updated on Kris Letang, saying that he is progressing nicely.  even if no date or length of time was given for that return.  Also, Matt Cullen was back in the line up, Mark Streit too, avoiding injury after his scare in Calgary.

Patric Hornqvist rejoined the Penguins at the morning skate.  As he is dealing with a concussion, this is good news, signifying he is getting closer.

Matt Murray played very well, even in the loss.  He made 24 saves on 28 shots, but a lot of them were difficult.  His post to post robbery of Schenn at the end of the first period should make the highlights for the next week or two.

So the Penguins will take a day off today, rest up and it is well deserved.  To be honest, they could easily lay another egg on home ice against the New Jersey Devils on Friday and it still wouldn’t damper the excellent road trip, or season.

Wait….the Devils have lost ten in a row??

Nevermind, they better pound them.

PENGUINS SIGN ASTON-REESE

The Penguins once again dipped in to the pool of College free agents and came up, seemingly, a winner.  The club announced on Tuesday that they had signed Zach Aston-Reese to a 2 year, entry-level contract.  Reese, who is 22 years old, will spend the rest of this season with the Baby Pens in the AHL.

Resse, is a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in the college ranks for that year.  He led the NCAA with 63 points in 38 games, including a nation’s best of 31 goals.

Te Northeastern power-forward is widely regarded as the top of his class of free agents for this year.

His play is similar in nature to Patric Hornqvist, he goes to the front of the net and battles….does the dirty work, if you will.  Scouts have rated his skating ability anywhere from average to needs-some-work.

This speaks to the effort of Jim Rutherford and his minions to landing the top free agents out of college to counter all of the draft picks traded during the Ray Shero era.  Shero also took a run at the college free agents during his time in Pittsburgh, but never quite landed them with any amount of success, Conor Sheary being a notable exception.

So add Aston-Reese to the already established Ethan Prow from last year and you can excuse Rutherford for using a 2nd round pick to get Ron Hainsey a month ago.  Z-A-R will undoubtedly be better than what that pick would have been.  All indications point towards Reese taking a crack at the bottom 6 of the big boy roster come September.

A quick synopsis from Dobber Prosbects here:

Zach Aston-Reese

Thanks for reading!

The post Fatigued Pens Blanked by Philly appeared first on Pittsburgh Sports Castle.



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