The Pittsburgh Penguins had an explosive start to the season. They handily defeated the reigning Stanley Cup champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first game, then accumulated two more wins and two overtime losses. However, that all changed after week three. With multiple losses, both on the scoresheet and in personnel, the Penguins will have to shake things up once again.
Suffered On The Scoresheet
Week three was tough on the scoresheet for sure. On Oct. 26, the Penguins played the Lightning once more. This time, with a much different outcome. Tampa Bay outplayed the Penguins and won 5-1, the lone goal coming from Jason Zucker. It’s understandable as every team has a rough game every now and then, and the only thing Pittsburgh could’ve done is get ready to play the next contest.
On Oct. 28, the Penguins played against the Calgary Flames with a similar outcome. The game was close as it was 1-0 in favor of the Flames going into the third period. However, when it was all said and done, Calgary shut the Penguins out with a 4-0 victory. Despite the loss, the Penguins amassed 45 shots on net, none of which got past goaltender Jacob Markstrom. It couldn’t have gotten much worse from there, right?
Well, it did. On Saturday, the New Jersey Devils outplayed the Penguins and walked away with the 4-2 victory. Even worse, the Devils ruined Sidney Crosby‘s season debut after returning from his wrist surgery. Pittsburgh has a lot to work on for the upcoming game on Thursday against their rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers. To make matters worse, it just got more difficult for the Penguins.
More COVID Protocol Losses
Unfortunately, the Penguins have lost more players due to COVID-19. Defensemen Marcus Pettersson and Chad Ruhwedel have tested positive for COVID and have been placed on the Protocol List. Head coach Mike Sullivan said that, while Ruhwedel remains asymptomatic, Pettersson has shown signs of symptoms. Fans should keep them in their thoughts and wish the players a speedy recovery.
Fortunately, defenseman Kris Letang has been cleared to return to the team after missing four games from contracting COVID. Letang was symptomatic, however, and there is no certain way to tell if he’s going to be medically cleared to play in Thursday’s contest. If not, then it looks like Pierre-Olivier Joseph could be making his season debut.
The Penguins have to figure out what’s been going on. They’ve been bringing the offense, but somehow haven’t been able to capitalize on many opportunities. If they don’t start putting the puck in the back of the net, then they are in for more trouble than they’ve been in. Even so, they have to remain healthy to hope for a successful season. It looks like only time will tell.
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