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Penguins vs. Flames recap; Bad habits catch up to Pittsburgh in loss

The Pittsburgh Penguins had been playing with fire and finally got burned this game against the Calgary Flames

Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports

At the end of a long and successful road trip, the Pittsburgh Penguins played an uninspired game and were dropped 5-2 by the Calgary Flames. The Pens very much looked like a team at the end of a three games in four night stretch. They were able to trade goals early, first by Calgary's Joe Colborne.

And then Phil Kessel scored his 6th goal of the season.

But then the Pens dug a deep hole that they couldn't get out of, taking 3 penalties in the first 15 minutes of the game.

This ended up being too much pressure on a penalty kill unit that had killed 20 straight power plays and they would be cracked by Johnny Gaudreau in the first period for a 2-1 Calgary lead after some nice puck movement that victimized Rob Scuderi and Brian Dumoulin .

The Flames would quickly pounce again less than a minute later to take a 3-1 lead into the intermission.

Pittsburgh wouldn't be much better in the second period and gave up the game's next goal when Ian Cole allowed Gaudreau to pass over to Sean Monahan who made a slick tip-of-the-puck in mid air to beat Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 4-1.

The Pens would score the next one though a few minutes later in the second. On the power play! (5th straight game with a PP goal, if you're looking for silver linings). Nice play by David Perron to carry the puck into the zone with speed and draw in all 4 penalty killers before dishing it off to Nick Bonino who rifled a nice shot for his 3rd goal of the season.

The Pens wouldn't gain much momentum and Kris Letang took David Jones out late in the second period, forcing Fleury to have to fend off a penalty shot that it looks like Jones shot high.

Gaudreau would tack on an empty netter to seal a 5-2 loss for Pittsburgh.

A few thoughts:

  • Another tough game for Cole and Letang. You'd have to think on the plane ride back east the coaches have to be considering shaking up their defensive pairings because the first and most important one is struggling pretty mightily game after game. Letang and Cole were on for every goal against (save the PK one). The last EN is whatever, but all 3 even-strength goals against is awful.
  • Nice to see Perron make a play for a goal, and his 4 shots on goal led the team. He's been directing a lot of pucks on net, and while his season stats still are ugly, his game is starting to sharpen.
  • It was disappointing the Pens only out-shot the Flames 17-15 after the 1st period (and were heavily outshot 16-8 in the first). Perhaps a symptom of a lack of energy at the end of a trip but tonight simply wasn't Pittsburgh's night.
  • Eric Fehr about summed it up with his quote after the game, "We weren't supporting each other really well," Fehr said. "We were going for home-run plays and that’s not the way we've been winning lately. We’ve been staying tight as a unit and winning a tight-checking game."

The Pens are idle until a Wednesday night home game with Montreal.