The numbers don’t lie.
And they’re not good.
Power play, penalty kill, record in the division, you name it.
Coach Mike Johnston praised the Penguins’ penalty kill following a 3-1 loss to the Capitals at Consol Energy Center on Tuesday.
“I thought our penalty kill was great tonight, to be honest,” Johnston said.
The man’s entitled to his opinion.
But the PK allowed two goals on five chances. Yes, I know a bad change on the first, a fluke goal. A five-on-three on the second. But it’s the 10th time in 15 games they’ve been scored upon. The Penguins are 34 for 47 on the PK (72.3 percent) during that span.
“Other than a five-on-three goal, we limited their chances, and they (scored) from the corner backdoor,” Johnston said. “That’s a broken play. (Alex) Ovechkin’s dangerous on that backside circle. I thought our adjustments on our penalty kill were really good tonight to take that away.
“I liked how (Nick) Spaling blocked a couple shots. I have a lot of confidence in our penalty kill throughout the year, and I think they’re fine.”
Again, his words. Which obviously mean a heck of a lot more than mine.
The power play hasn’t been much better. Goose egg for three Tuesday. Goose egg for 18 over the past eight games.
The split power plays showed a new wrinkle Tuesday.
Sidney Crosby started with Blake Comeau and Patric Hornqvist on the first, then regular linemates Chris Kunitz and David Perron on the second.
Seven shots. Some of them even quality chances. No goals.
“We had some decent chances,” Crosby said. “I think we’ve moved the puck around fairly well. Besides capitalizing, I think we’ve done a better job here the last couple games.”
Defenseman Derrick Pouliot was a little bit more honest when talking about the power play.
“I think we got a couple good chances,” Pouliot said. “We still need to execute a little better, I think. I know one time myself, I lost it up top there when I probably shouldn’t have. We have to start converting a little bit, but we got some good looks.”
The third ugly number has to do with how the Penguins have fared against the Metropolitan Division, where one point separates second and fourth.
The Penguins are 7-10-4 against division opponents but 2-7-2 against the Rangers, Capitals and Islanders — the teams they will see soonest in the playoffs.
They’re 25-6-5 against non-Metropolitan Division teams.
“That’s our opponent generally for the playoffs,” coach Mike Johnston said. “Yeah, we’ve got to play better against Metropolitan opponents.”
Club practices Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. Talk to you then.
Be GRATEFUL to each other,