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Pittsburgh Penguins’ February Recap

Pittsburgh Penguins' February

It’s been a relatively rough month for the Pittsburgh Penguins. So far, they’ve been pretty dominant for most of the season. However, February was just not their month. Although they finished off the month with six wins, three losses and one overtime loss, it was pretty underwhelming. Some obvious flaws in their current gameplan have been clear, but there have been some standout players.

The Bad

Getting the bad out of the way first, the clear and obvious problem the Penguins have struggled with is their depth. Fans like to think of the big-name players when they imagine a team winning. More often than not, though, a team will be unable to win consistently without a solid bottom-six forward group. In the games the Penguins have played in February, the weakness of the bottom-six was put on full display.

Pittsburgh Penguins' February


Image Courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire

The bottom-six includes some talent that has been solid so far this year. Boasting talent like Evan Rodrigues and Kasperi Kapanen, they should’ve been doing great. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Evan Rodrigues started the year off red-hot, but in his last 21 games, he scored one goal. In Kapanen’s last 20 games? Also only one goal. Brock McGinn also only has one goal in his past 19 games, and Zach Aston-Reese has none in almost 30 games.

With McGinn and Aston-Reese being more defensively inclined, that isn’t too much of a shock. However, Rodrigues and Kapanen should be lighting the lamp much more often. When the depth can’t put the puck in the net, a team is going to be in trouble. Thankfully, the always-entertaining “March of the Penguins” begins Tuesday. Ideally, the team is able to come together and start scoring more.

The Good

Fortunately, not everything has been horrible for Pittsburgh. The first line, consisting of Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Bryan Rust, has been firing on all cylinders. They’ve been beyond consistent in lighting the lamp. Another player that’s been performing well is Evgeni Malkin. Despite his seemingly lackluster play at times, he has four goals and seven points in his last five games. He’s certainly stepped up in his offensive play recently.

Pittsburgh Penguins' February
Image Courtesy of Getty Images

The defense has been relatively mediocre, but the goaltending must be commended. Tristan Jarry had a few questionable performances, but he bounced back in their game Saturday as he recorded his fourth shutout. Casey DeSmith has nearly stolen the show from Jarry as he’s been pretty stellar. He had to relieve Jarry in multiple games, also performing in an exceptional manner.

So far, most of the problems shown in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ February lie with the bottom-six forward group. They need to start putting the puck in the net to alleviate some of the pressure off of the first line in particular. Once they are able to find their game again, the team will be solid overall. If not, however, there is a chance that changes in the form of trades could occur.

 

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