The New York Rangers shut out the Pittsburgh Penguins last night to regain first place in the Atlantic Division. Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves to earn his first shutout of the season. It was the second time this season the Penguins have been shut out. Both shutouts have come in the last seven games. Over those seven games the Penguins have scored a total of only eight goals.
Once again the Penguins power play was unable to score. They went 0-for-8 on the night and are 0-for-24 in their last six games. They were able to manage only one shot during a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted almost two minutes.
It was the Penguins fifth loss in a row and seventh in their last ten.
The last time the Penguins lost five games in a row was the 2006-2007 season when they did so twice. However, during both of those losing stretches that year they managed to take a few games into overtime and earn a point. The last time the team lost five games in a row in regulation was during the 2005-2006 season when they finished at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
I'm not sure what can be done to get the Penguins out of this slump. A few trades or a coaching change will likely not help. The players are not motivated. They have no confidence. They lose battles frequently throughout the game and the team's power play - which boasts two of the league's top scorers - has been completely ineffective.
The Penguins will try to break their losing streak when they return home to face Atlanta tonight. The Penguins have lost their last five home games.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
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