Sam Kasan gives his three impressions from the press box of the Penguins’ 1-0 loss against the Winnipeg Jets.
1. Zack Attack The Pens turned to goaltender Jeff Zatkoff on the tail end of back-to-back games. And he did what he was supposed to do; he gave the Pens a chance to win. He made several keys saves, including stopping Bryan Little and Blake Wheeler on breakaways. In the third period he robbed Drew Stafford with a sprawling, desperation arm stretch. His only blemish was a goal allowed on a penalty shot. He took the onus for allowing the penalty shot goal – “He got me off angle and beat me. He made a good shot. Tough that that’s the game winner, but that’s how it goes sometimes.” This loss cannot be pinned on Zatkoff. He played well enough to win.
2. Goose Egg The Pens’ struggles on offense are well known this season. They certainly had their chances against the Jets. In fact, their two biggest chances came in the final seconds, but defenseman Tyler Myers made back-to-back saves with his goaltender down and out. Pittsburgh did a lot to generate opportunities, but that isn’t good enough. The Pens need to find a way to score. Playing well isn’t good enough anymore. The time for moral victories is over.
3. Neutral Zone Another area of their game that has plagued the Pens all season has been their neutral zone play. They were sloppy with the puck between the blue lines tonight, especially in the first period. The Jets took advantage of turnovers and used their speed to create a lot of plays off the rush. Pittsburgh cleaned things up as the game went on, but their early casualness cost them a period; a period that could have been the difference in a 1-goal game.
"Sometimes we try to do a little too much," head coach Mike Sullivan said. "We don't have the necessary focus in that area of the rink and it hurts us when we don't do as good of a job (in the neutral zone)."