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A Forgetful Year


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As Rangers’ Forward Carl Hagelin wristed a shot past Marc-Andre Fluery in overtime of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarter Finals, it marked the end of what was a season to forget in Pittsburgh. That one play defined the Penguins whole season; the ability to hold on, but lose it in the end. The only thing on the mind of Penguins fans is one question; What went wrong?

Offensive Efficiency: At the beginning of the season, things were going great for Head Coach Mike Johnston, as the Penguins started the season going 10-2-1 in their first 13 games and scoring 53 goals over that span. But as the season started to wind down, so did the teams productivity. The Pens finished their last 21 games of the regular season with a mediocre record of 8-10-3, including losing five of their final six games. Over that span, they scored just 43 goals and were held to 1 goal or less 10 times. This dreadful run lead to their fall from battling for a division lead to battling for just a wildcard spot.

Injuries: The Penguins were one of the most injury-ridden teams in the NHL this season. Over this course, they lost both Pascal Dupuis (Blood Clot) and Olli Maata (shoulder) for the season. Both players provided major offensive support and great help on the penalty kill. The Penguins were also without top Defensemen Kris Letang for portions of the season, including the entire playoff series with the Rangers due to a concussion. Christian Ehrhoff also missed much of the season as well. Other forwards who missed a number of games were Evgeni Malkin (13 games missed) and Patric Hornqvist (18 games), two more guys who are huge pieces of the Penguins’ offense.

Discipline: The Penguins were the most penalized team in the NHL this season, which poses problems when you’re constantly having to kill penalties. Forward Steve Downie was hands down the worst offender of all the players, leading the NHL in penalty minutes. Now, the Penguins were one of the top penalty killing teams in the league, but their top stars don’t kill penalties. This means that guys like Malkin and Sidney Crosby weren’t on the ice when a penalty needed to be killed, and when Sid isn’t on the ice, this team is not the same.

 

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