Sunday, October 18, 2015

Crosby, Pens PP Desperate for Goals

Ah, the good old days (see video above). If only things could be that simple again.

Sid the kid Crosby is going to go grey if he doesn't pick up a few points--and soon. The NHL's 11th-best point-scorer among active players is currently enduring the longest drought of his ten plus-year career. Counting his last game of the 2014-2015 season, Crosby has now gone six games without scoring a point (he has never started a season with five scoreless games). But his coach Mike Johnston thinks Crosby is coming around.

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"You look at Sid's overall game, 200 feet, I thought it was a real solid game for him," he said after Pittsburgh squeaked by Toronto, 2-1, on Saturday.

It isn't only Crosby that's ailing. Pittburgh's power play unit has yet to score in its first five games, going 0-for-17. It's the first time in history that they've gone the first five games of a season without a power play goal.

Last year, Pittsburgh's PP unit was 10th-best in the NHL, and coach Johnston doesn't think this year's unit is that far off, though he does admit that changes need to be made, particularly with the second unit. "We'll make some changes and adjustments, yes," Johnson said. "We do have to get our power-play in sync, we know that. We're looking at it. We're going to look at all options."

As far as Crosby's role in the power play, one reporter told coach Johnston in press that Crosby looks lost and he demanded to know why. "He looks lost for lack of a better word on the power play," the reporter said of Crosby. "Is he trying to do something different than is being instructed or is this something new that he's just not pulling down yet?"

Johnston didn't laugh, or spit, or throw anything at the reporter. Instead he defended Crosby and threw his team's second unit under the bus.

"The last two games we've had that one unit together (Crosby, Malkin, Kessel, Hornqvist, Letang)," he said. "I thought tonight they were dangerous at times. I thought it was our other unit that didn't give us any help on the power play. I expected them to generate some momentum and be a shooting unit. The Bonino-Kunitz-Sprong-Perron unit. Be a shooting unit, give us some momentum. And they were the ones that who gave up the short-handed opportunities."

Despite all the issues, the Penguins have won two in a row and Evgeni Malkin is catching fire. It's probably just a matter of time before Crosby and the power play follow suit and the Pens start to look like a top-tier team again.