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Frustration mounts, Johnston in trouble

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Head Coach Mike Johnston doesn't have the answers and players are already frustrated with the results.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Penguins Head Coach Mike Johnston hasn't had many answers since taking over the Penguins after replacing a coach (Bylsma) that was criticized for failing to adjust his system against difference tactics the opposition deployed against the team.

On Friday night, Columbus pushed their way around the ice at Consol Energy Center on their way to a 2-1 victory.

It was the same old theme, power play was a mess going 0 for 6 and second period was another embarrassing let down.

Then on Saturday night, it was disorganized hockey.

A 4-0 Devils victory in Newark that wasn't even as close as the lopsided score would indicate against the Penguins.

After the game, Evgeni Malkin was asked what was wrong with the offense, "Everything. We don't play right. We're not working hard. It's tough right now but I know we are mad at each other. We need to stop and look in the mirror and start working."

When one of your key players, a leader on the team is talking openly and honestly about players being mad at each other (likely meaning they are frustrated with one another) and not playing right, that's not a good recipe for long-term success and makes you wonder what Mike Johnston, Rick Tocchet and Gary Agnew are doing to form a better team on and off the ice.

Malkin later added the penalties and turnovers are a problem and based on tonight, Kris Letang was front and center again on those two fronts.

Letang finished the game with four penalties because once again, he loses his patience when things go wrong.

That same lack of patience is why Letang has shots and passes easily blocked away on the power play and why teams game plan around being physical on him. A defensemen of Letang's talent cannot allow himself to be taken out of a game because of his own self interests to exact some revenge for a hit or runs his mouth to the officials.

While Letang was at least visible and frustrated, it was another concerning no-show for Sidney Crosby.

Don't get mad about the captain saying very little after the game, he's programmed to be a robot.

Where do the Penguins go from here?

You can't possibly trade 21 players (exclude Fleury and Zatkoff from this embarrassing mess), which leaves General Manager Jim Rutherford a decision that he likely doesn't want to make knowing that a move to fire the head coach shortens his own leash.

An in-season move is limited now because of the draft pick compensation due to NHL clubs, so look for Rutherford to move Jacques Martin behind the bench or bring up Mike Sullivan, who is doing a great job in Wilkes-Barre Scranton.

Dumoulin is Human

After 16 straight games dating back to October 17th, Dumoulin had gone 168 minutes of even-strength time on the ice without a goal against. Tonight, New Jersey's third goal scored by Bobby Farnham on a fluke goal off Zatkoff's upper body found a way over the line as Dumoulin was unable to stick with the former Penguins winger along the boards.

Costly Loss

The second straight loss to a Metropolitan opponent could be even more costly as Patric Hornqvist didn't return after taking a shot up high in the second period. He's been one of the few players who have been active and working hard, though unproductive. Losing Hornqvist for any amount of time while the team struggles to put up even two goals per game will make it even harder to end the scoring woes, especially the anemic power play.