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What’s going on with the defense? 11 goals allowed in two games is not good enough

The Penguins have allowed 11 goals through their first two games of the season. That needs to improve.

NHL: Preseason-Buffalo Sabres at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Penguins kicked off their season on Thursday with an overtime win against the Washington Capitals, scoring seven goals, but allowing six to the defending champions. They followed that up on Saturday with a 5-1 loss at the hands of the visiting Montreal Canadiens.

For those counting at home, that is 11 goals allowed through two games. That is bad. As in, not good. Seeing that kind of number may have you asking yourself, “What went wrong? Was it the defense? Is it Matt Murray?” Luckily for you, we’re going to take a little look at each of those 11 goals just to see what happened and what we think about it.

Penguins vs. Capitals

Jakub Vrana capitalizes on a juicy rebound and puts it into an open cage, tying the game at 1-1. Split blame. A bad rebound by Murray, while someone clearly should’ve been tracking Vrana.

Bad goal for Matt Murray. No screen. No deflection.

Defense? Where are you? Bad defending here. You can’t leave anyone alone in front of your goalie, let alone the best goal-scorer of this generation.

I’d consider this one a split as well. The defender did a good job of taking away the pass and leaving the shooter for Murray. This may have you wanting to yell “BAD GOAL,” and that’s where I come in and remind you that Murray wouldn't need to make a big save if the defense didn’t allow a 2-on-1 in the first place!

This was a horrific, and I mean horrific turnover from Malkin here. Bad defending.

I have no blame to assign here. A great redirection from T.J. Oshie that no one could do anything about.

Penguins vs. Canadiens

Are you kidding me, Jack Johnson? Failing to clear it at the blue line and then leaving Gallagher alone for a bouncing puck in front? Bad defending.

Breakawaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Defense, hello?

In my experience, leaving players alone in front of the net generally does not bode well for any team.

Another goal, another forward beating a Penguins defender to the net.

And that one is on Mr. Murray. Wraparound goals hurt.


By my count, that makes for two bad goals allowed by Matt Murray, two goals with blame split, one goal with no one to blame, and a whopping six goals with the defense and coverage to blame. The fact of the matter is that the Penguins have been handling the puck like a hand grenade in combination with covering attacking forwards like they are ghosts. Both aspects of their game needs to improve, and hopefully they do it in a hurry.