Eric Staal showed up little brother Jordan with a 4-2 Carolina win
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At this point in the season nothing hurts more than a loss. All teams are in staunch competition with one another for a spot somewhere in the playoffs while still trying to negotiate upgrades before the trade deadline.
One loss is detrimental to a lot of things. Two back-to-back losses: well, something has to be done.
When the Pens lost to the Canes 4-2 they not only dropped another game for the second consecutive night, but they also watched their February record fall to 4-2-1 in the span of a week. Although not necessarily "bad" in terms of monthly records, it's going to get only tougher as the month progresses. Although the Panthers and Sabres have yet to pose a true threat to the Penguins so far this year, two consecutive games against the Canadiens and Senators will surely be the biggest task at hand.
In part with his poor effort and highly limited performance Wednesday night against the Bruins, Erik Christensen found himself a nice warm seat in the arena as Coach Therrien opted for the scratch. Following previous performances that failed to register on the Coach's meter, his inability to come through on Wednesday night may have officially sealed his fate as a Penguin.
Besides, Tyler Kennedy was back in the lineup after battling mono for nearly a month. His return can bring the end to Christensen's failed attempts.
The trade deadline looms. It's less than two weeks away (11 days to be exact). Changes are coming as changes are needed.
Amazingly, one of the other players rumored to be up for trade scored his first goal in a little over two years. Brooks Orpik, the otherwise board rattling defenseman, netted his first goal in 180 games late in the first to tie the score at one. The goal was the fourth of his career.
The penalty kill was at fault for the Pens last night. The inability of the PK to kill more than half of the Hurricanes' power play attempts gave the Canes three goals out of six chances on the PP. That's an impressive 50% conversion with the extra man. Compared to the last meeting on February 2nd when the Canes were held 0-4 on the power play, it poses as quite the improvement.
The Pens saw only one goal on five power play chances, putting the power play at a dismal 2-13 in the last two games.
Dany Sabourin's loss in net may be one of his last starts as a Penguin. Fleury's eminent return, combined with Conklin's fair-weathered success and John Curry's rising play on the farm, leaves very little room for Sabu in the system. Although his play may not be worthy of a big name in exchange, he is potential fodder in any two-for-one or three-for-two trades. To send him back down and stifle the growth of John Curry would just be a self-defeating lateral move.
The Pens have the next two nights off before taking on the Sabres Sunday at 6:00. Until then, keep your eyes and ears open for trades. They're bound to happen soon.