Pens musings after the Florida game

--The Penguins clearly miss Evgeni Malkin. He's not having a great season by his standards and has largely been a dud 5-on-5, but there's a huge hole in the middle of the lineup when he's not there. Two problems are created without the big man: 1.) Matt Cullen played second line center minutes last night. That's bad. He's a good bottom-6, but he is exposed playing almost 18 minutes. 2.) The PP is rudderless. The Penguins couldn't convert a 5-on-3 and didn't score on the PP in three chances. Woof.

--Patric Hornqvist hasn't been good since his return from a concussion. He hasn't recorded a point in 7 games. I'm sure he will get back to form, but presently he hasn't been very good.

--Tanner Pearson is bad right now. He hasn't registered a shot in 4 of 5 games. When ZAR comes back, I'd suggest sitting him down. I know he's an expensive healthy scratch...So be it. As Clint Hurdle would say, "let him unplug."

--I was critical of Jack Johnson in yesterday's blog . I actually thought he was pretty good against the Panthers. He held on to some pucks and actually made some plays in the offensive zone.

--Kris Letang didn't stop on the puck on the Panthers second goal. He's been GREAT this year, but it made me yell at my television. Unsurprisingly, my TV didn't yell back.

--Phil Kessel's OT was one to forget. Twice he could have shot the puck at point blank range, and twice he deferred to Nick Bjugstad. He also lost his man on the doorstep and the puck wound up in the back of the net. Silver lining? Mike Sullivan sees something he likes with Bjugstad and Kessel playing together. Bjugstad started the game on Crosby's right wing and wound up playing with Kessel later in the game. I'd rather see Bjugstad as the Pens third line center with Kessel on his right.

--Casey DeSmith was flopping around like a fish in this one. Actually, when is he not flopping around like a fish? I don't know how he stops the puck, but he does. He's got a .918 save percentage this season and his career number is .919. That being said, I can't see the Penguins beating the Caps, Jackets, Leafs, or Bolts with DeSmith in the cage. They need Murray back ASAP.

--Domonik Simon's possession numbers are good. But he doesn't score enough to play with Crosby. He doesn't score enough to be in the top-6. For me, he's the epitome of "just a guy."

Adam Crowley

Adam Crowley

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