It's a question we've been asking ourselves since Sergei Gonchar and Ryan Whitney went down - Can Kris Letang handle the workload? His gung-ho attitude would leave no doubt in one's mind, but whether his production can fill that void is the real question.
So far, Tanger's production has been anything but stellar. In three games with the Pens as their number one defenseman, Letang has failed to tally a point, spent two minutes in the box, recorded only four shots and is a minus-two. Unless he can turn things around, and do it quickly, this looks to be a painful transition to stomach before Whitney gets back on the ice.
In comparison, Alex Goligoski has one goal in two games (the one that beat Auld in the second game from the Sweden trip), is a minus-one and has four shots on the cage.
So really, when you break it down, the Penguins' number one offensive-defensive unit has only one goal in three games and no assists.
Ryan Whitney is set to get back on the ice next month, according to the Tribune-Review. Whit hopes to skate as soon as next month, with a December return to the lineup the best end result. It's a good sign to see his surgery and recovery is going as planned and hopefully upon his return the D will get a bit of a jolt.
I'm still mesmerized by the fact that New Jersey managed to collect 49 shots on goal the other night. I just fear what a team like Montreal, actually known for their offense, will do to the Penguins.