Bah, Happy New Year. What's so happy about it? The Penguins kicked off 2009 with another disappointing loss, taking their overall record to 19-15-4. That alone stands so close to a barely above .500 record that it makes me sick.
The Boston Bruins won their 14th consecutive home game, a feat that no doubt stands out as formidable at the least. Here I sit just hoping the Penguins can win two in a row. I don't care whose ice they do it on either.
Despite Boston's ability to look like they controlled and manhandled every facet of the game, Pittsburgh hung in their strong tonight. Shots on goal were in favor of the Pens, but Boston's Manny Fernandez pushed all but two of the 32 shots aside for his thirteenth win of the year. Not bad for a backup.
As for the Pens, I guess that players-only meeting following Tuesday's loss didn't have much an immediate impact as the players would have liked. Sidney Crosby was held pointless, Malkin tallied a single assist and Jordan Staal was rocked at center ice by Boston's Vladamir Sobotka.
In the face of a loss you'd like to try and find something redeemable to carry over to the next game. Maybe it's something like finding a line combination that works or perhaps a defensive pairing that shuts down the opposition. After two or three straight losses, these things become harder and harder to find. Coming from a fan who watched the Penguins completely bomb in 2005, I can find an excuse for anything - trust me. But even then the term "rebuilding" can only be masked so many times in so many different ways before you just have to accept the fact that your team sucks.
Thankfully this team does not suck. The current status of the team may lead one to think otherwise, but they do not suck. Case in point - Pittsburgh has to start winning. I can't decide right now if I'd like to see a streak start now and halt at the break or whether I'd like to see it kick off in February and carry them through the standings over the last few months of the season. But at this point I'd like to see the Pens win a single game and build from there.
The good: Dustin Jeffrey picked up his first career NHL goal. Congrats. Now do it more often.
The bad: Crosby and Malkin just can't get it going out there.
The ugly: As of late, the 2008/09 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Next game: Saturday. 1:00. Florida Panthers. Must win? Yes, I'd say so.