Inconsistency Must Be Improved Upon
After rebounding from a slow start, the Penguins showed flashes of dominant play after a flat first period performance. The team’s power-play goal from Evgeni Malkin was a thing of beauty and it looked like perhaps Pittsburgh was starting to wake up. As we know, however, they failed to score again in the loss. Outside of the flashes here and there, this was an effort that was all over the map. The Penguins are hoping to contend for the Stanley Cup this season, but their inconsistency in the opening game was troubling, to say the least.
It all starts with the much-discussed defensive issues. One second the Penguins look like a good-enough defensive unit to get by, but the next, they look like a team that won’t be able to stop anyone. Johnson took plenty of the blame for defensive struggles earlier in this article, but it’s a team-wide problem that simply must be fixed. It’s impossible to win consistently if the defensive effort isn’t there all the time.
Luckily, coach Sullivan is one of the NHL’s better motivators. The Penguins may not have been a consistent team against the Sabres, but that looks like a problem that should be solved. Between guys like Sidney Crosby, Malkin and other veterans, it’s fair to write off this inconsistency as an early-season aberration. Was it fun to watch this effort in a big game? Of course not. However, let’s not overreact until this team shows inconsistent play moving forward into the season.