Penguins end 2017 with loss; look to rebound in 2018

Posted on Jan 2 2018 - 11:24am by Jason McDermott
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The loss was the eighth in the Penguins last 12 games. NHL.com

Happy New Year everyone! The Pittsburgh Penguins are hoping that the turn of the calendar page will help them turn their own page on a miserable month of December.

A month that saw the club win consecutive games just one time. That was the opening days of the month when they beat Buffalo in a home-and-home back-to-back situation.

Otherwise it was a month to forget, one that ended with a big thud in Detroit as the Penguins went out of 2017 with a whimper in a 4-1 defeat. Gustav Nyquist had two goals and Jimmy Howard made 37 of 38 saves to propel the Wings to the win.

Howard nearly had all 38 saves, but his spectacular glove save on Evgeni Malkin was reviewed and determined that it was caught in the glove over the goal line.

It was a sub-par performance for Matt Murray, allowing four goals n 23 shots. Some inconsistent performances as of late, and a knack for getting dinged up has the citizens on alert and full of concern over the situation in net.

Some good news may be on the way for Pittsburgh on the injury front.

The belief with these moves is that both Kris Letang and Justin Schultz are on their way back to the lineup. It would be a welcome sight for a club quickly running out of internal options.

Daniel Sprong made his season debut Sunday night and fired a team high six shots on net. His shot and ability to create were definitely on display, also was evidence that Sprong has a ways to go, often looking confused in the defensive zone.

Where do you start in solving the problems, however, because not only are the Penguins now 20th in the league in scoring, but they are at the bottom in terms of goal differential in 5 on 5 play, including the four Red Wings goals the other night. Their 127 goals against are the fourth most in the NHL.

Tonight’s opponent, you would like to think is just the tonic needed. The Penguins hobble into Philadelphia just one point from the bottom of the Metro Division. The team on their heels?

The Philadelphia Flyers.

It’s the Penguins first trip to the City of Brotherly Love, as the teams play each other for the second time this season. The first match up saw the Pens rescue themselves with some late game heroics before Sidney Crosby put a deflection goal home in over time on the power play for a 5-4 win on Nov. 27.

Unlike the Penguins, who have lost two straight road games, the Flyers are coming off of a 5-3 victory in Tampa Bay last Friday. Philadelphia returns home to start a four-game home stand.

Stay tuned for a recap of Pens and Flyers on Wednesday morning.

Thanks for reading!!

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