This was the third loss in a row for the Penguins. They have lost five of their last seven games and one of those two wins came in overtime. To say things aren't going well for the Penguins in the month of March would be a pretty vast understatement. A silver lining is that all of those losses have been by one goal but that and a trip to jail will get you a phone call.
The Penguins effort was a lot better tonight. Recently it seems as if the team is sort of disinterested in playing and doesn't have that edge, and while that isn't the case at all it just seems that way. The Penguins came out and played a good hard hockey game and sometimes you lose those. What makes this one a little frustrating is that it comes during a stretch of hockey that they haven't been playing well at all.
The game tonight was all special teams. The Penguins got seven power play opportunities and they failed to score on each and every chance. On the other side the Kings had three power play opportunities and they scored on one of those while they scored another goal just as a Pens penalty expired. The Penguins power play is the best in the league and not too often are they going to get shutout in a game let alone shutout in a game where they had seven chances. In close games they are decided by the special teams and this one was.
Injuries have been bad this year and the Penguins might have lost another one tonight. In the second period Marcel Goc went feet first into the boards and twisted his ankle in a pretty bad way. I am not even going to post the picture of it because it was pretty ugly. Goc was unable to put any pressure on his leg and while I didn't hear anything following the game I wouldn't be surprised if this was an injury that we don't see Goc for some time, if not for the rest of the year.
I guess I will touch on what might have been the turning point. The Penguins had one of their power plays with under half the third period left. They got a puck to the net and while there was a scrum the puck found the back of the net. Everyone on the ice was pretty noncommittal about what happened and after the officials gathered and came to the conclusion that there was goaltender interference on Brandon Sutter. Problem was that Sutter didn't go into Kings goaltender Martin Jones voluntarily or just trying to make something happen, he was cross checked into Jones four times. It was a brutally bad call and made worse by the fact that the Penguins didn't end up tying the game. In my opinion it didn't cost them the game but it certainly didn't help.
This will eventually come to an end but that doesn't make losses like tonight any less frustrating. It was a good effort but that doesn't mean they were going to automatically win. Last year the Penguins didn't lose a game in March and in recent years, including this year, they have had a pretty easy time with little adversity during the regular season. I guess we can hope this builds character but who knows.
Tomorrow a desperate Columbus team is going to host the Penguins are going to need to play their A game to get a win. After all this could be a team they will see in the first round.