Apologies for the late recap, but as you might have seen already I'm not the only one who was a bit behind on things today. Even the game thread that was initially scheduled for 7:05 p.m. went up later than expected. Hindsight, I do remember the start time on this game changing earlier in the season, but I guess the changes didn't carry over to the scheduled game thread.
Oh well, props to wg1of5 for tossing one up as a fanpost anyway. Gotta love the dedication to keeping the streak of game threads alive on the site.
Unfortunately, it's much harder to love the outcome of this game. More on that after the jump.
Since Friday night the Penguins have wanted nothing more than to leave the state of New York. Even a bus accident in the streets of Manhattan required the Pens to jump in taxis and make the most of this weekend of misfortune. Pascal Dupuis jokes aside ("At least we were wearing our helmets."), this weekend was nothing to laugh at. What started as a penalty-ridden defeat on Friday carried on into a suspension and fine-filled Saturday and finally closed out with a loss at MSG.
If you take one look at the list of Pittsburgh goal scorers in the Penguins' 5-3 loss to the Rangers you'll see, more or less, a who's who of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. With the exception of Deryk Engelland, who started the season as a fringe player before latching on full-time defensive corps, both Nick Johnson and Brett Sterling filled out the rest of the scoring list. I believe I re-read in somewhere in the game thread, but I'm going to agree with whoever threw it out there - the silver lining in this game is that Sterling is really showing some good stuff for a guy who, in all likelihood, was not expected to snap out of the AHL this season. If anything he's building some nice value with his two goals and three points in three games and could be a decent asset for the Pens to consider keeping around even after some of these guys come back from injuries.
Unfortunately the Rangers made out like bandits in front of Marc-Andre Fleury today. There wasn't much in the way of bullying players around, and that much was evident in the first two Rangers goals of the game that slipped past MAF on tips.
Ordinarily when a team's star player is out, like Sidney Crosby has been from time to time over the last few seasons, the hope is that the team will latch on to a guy like Evgeni Malkin and managed a .500 record or so until he returns. The same can be said if Geno is out and Sid is in. But when both guys are out? I don't know. Frankly, I'd be happy to even see a .400 record until (fingers crossed of course) Sid comes back to help this team out in the playoffs.
The ultimate downside to this current streak of injuries is that the Pens are clearly struggling, but they are also doing so not only against conference foes but also division rivals. This is the point where you'd like to see a team put together a strong second half against some of the big division opponents, but instead the Pens will have to make the most of what they can from here on in.
Thankfully there is a nice break on the way until Wednesday when the Pens take on the Avs before closing out this horrid four-game road trip against the Blackhawks on Sunday. Hopefully a few guys take advantage of that time to heal up.