Penguins hope to reverse trend of poor spring showings at home
Unlike the Penguins' home arena for the first 43 years of their existence, Consol Energy Center doesn't resemble an igloo.
It has, however, been a winter haven for the Penguins.
But come spring, it's been a different story.
This year, the annual Consol collapse came early, and it's a trend the team is aiming to reverse.
“Teams who've come into here, they know it's going be a tough game, and it's going to be tough to win here,” goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. “Most of this season, we'd been doing that pretty good, but we've been on a stretch that's a little rough.”
The Penguins were on pace for one of the better home seasons in recent NHL memory when they took a 23-4 Consol Energy Center record into the final game before February's Olympic hiatus. A 4-3 shootout loss to the New York Rangers on Feb. 7, though, started a home tailspin from which they have yet to recover.
The Penguins have won just four of their past 11 home games and are 4-5-1 since the Olympics. The 45-percent earn rate of points available pales in comparison to the 85.2-percent rate of points they'd picked up at home prior to the break.
The Penguins' next five games will be played at Consol Energy Center: the final three games of the regular season this week and the opening two games of the playoffs next week.
“There's a certain level of comfort when you're at home, but just because you're at home doesn't mean everything just falls into place when you go on the ice,” Sidney Crosby said. “You've still got to do certain things and play with the energy and the urgency that you need whether it's at home or on the road.”
Since Consol Energy Center opened, the Penguins have earned 70.8 percent of available points there in the regular season as opposed to 63.6 percent on the road.
This season — even with the mediocre play at home since early February — the difference is slightly more pronounced. The Penguins have taken 73.6 percent of points available at home. They completed their road regular season having taken 59.8 percent of points.
However, the Penguins' post-Olympics downturn in success at home is reminiscent of the fall-off they've experienced in home winning percentage in the playoffs each of the past three seasons.
The Penguins have won 68.7 percent of their regular-season games at Consol Energy Center the past three seasons. During the postseason in that time, they've won just 46.7 percent.
To be fair, home winning percentage among all NHL teams plummets in the playoffs. During the postseason, the numbers suggest home-ice advantage doesn't mean the same as it does when not as much is at stake during the long regular season.
Asked his opinion why, Fleury paused and pondered.
“There's better teams, and everybody is going all out every night,” he said. “And (both teams) have the same schedule, too. There's (rarely) back-to-backs, so both teams are fresh.”
If the team hopes to contend for the Stanley Cup, it knows the struggles at home the past six weeks can't be a harbinger of what's to come in the playoffs.
“You feed off the crowd at home, but you can't depend on that when it comes to playing your game,” Crosby said. “That's something we have to do ourselves.”
Chris Adamski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- Penguins’ Scuderi offers honest assessment of his 2013-14 performance
- Penguins backup goaltender Zatkoff eyes new challenge with team
- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby says aching wrist doing better