The Pittsburgh Penguins were defeated mightily by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 7-1. They fall to 5-3-1 on the season. Here are the Three Takeaways.
No More Niemi, Please?
I was trying to give Antti Niemi the benefit of the doubt but that has gone by the way side. The Penguins have yet to play a good game in front of him and he’s already faced Tampa Bay twice and Chicago once. He hasn’t played a road game and all three starts have been on the second night of a back-to-back. That’s a raw deal. However, there were about three or four very manageable saves that got through Niemi on Saturday and such has been the case in three previous games. Tristan Jarry awaits in the wings. So does Casey DeSmith but I have a hard time believing they would actually go that route. Three games may be a small sample but this isn’t a situation the Penguins won’t to keep running themselves into especially with the amount of back-to-back situations they’ve got.
Tampa Bay A Bad Matchup
While Niemi hasn’t looked good at all against the Lightning, I think it’s fair to say the team as a whole hasn’t either. When a team falls into such a substantial hole, it is tough to not make unlimited mistakes and get away from your game due to frustration. But they have taken silly penalties against them in the early two games. They have come out slow against them and Tampa Bay just looks to have the better star power at this point in the season. Some teams struggle to beat others. This doesn’t seem like a Capitals struggling with the Penguins type of situation, but it is concerning considering these are the early season favorites to make the Eastern Conference Finals.
Sheahan Trade Provides Depth
Getting away from that ugly game, the Penguins acquired Riley Sheahan early in the day to fill the role of the third-line center for now. It is early and many fans believe he isn’t fit to be the third-line center. It is a low risk trade that sent Scott Wilson, a guy who clearly wasn’t going to play much in Mike Sullivan‘s system, to the Red Wings. If the move doesn’t work out, the Penguins can always acquire a more adamant fit. I find it hard to believe Sheahan can’t at least fill a fourth line role if the Penguins were to make a bigger move later in the year. Stay tuned on this front.