By bringing down their sky-high goals-against average with tight overtime victories against Edmonton and Winnipeg this week, it looks like the Penguins might be starting to get back on a championship path. A roadblock stands in front of them, however, and it's one they've yet to negotiate in three tries this season. With games at Minnesota on Saturday and at Winnipeg on Sunday, the Penguins are staring at another set of back-to-back games with travel in between. Their first three attempts at winning when playing on consecutive days were an abject failure. There was a 10-1 shellacking at Chicago, a 5-4 loss at Tampa that wasn't as close as the final score indicated and a 7-1 defeat in Tampa. Add it up, and it's an 0-3 record with six goals for and 22 goals against. In their other eight games this season, the Penguins are 7-0-1 and outscored opponents 28-19. “We gotta find a way to play a better consistent game in a back-to-back,” winger Tom Kuhnhackl said. “The next couple weeks, we're on the road a lot with back-to-backs. It's not going to get any easier. I think we have to find that consistency.” Kuhnhackl is right about the schedule not getting any easier. After this weekend, the Penguins will still have 15 sets of back-to-back games to navigate this season. By way of contrast, their opponent Saturday night, Winnipeg, has only nine back-to-back sets scheduled all year. That fact has led to at least some quiet grumbling about the equity of the schedule in the Penguins locker room, though in most cases, players accept it as a fact of NHL life. “I think there's a lot more politics in the schedule than we know,” defenseman Kris Letang said. “Some markets want different games, and the league wants to put smaller markets in better situations, maybe.
Clearing back-to-back road games tough hurdle for Penguins
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Oct 28