After the signing of Phil Kessel, it seemed like the Pittsburgh Penguins were primed to make a deep playoff run with the stacked, offensively gifted roster.
Unfortunately, the Pittsburgh franchise, and Sidney Crosby, have fallen short of their high expectations this season as they are averaging just over two goals-per-game.
A large part of the Penguins' struggles are attributed to the lacklustre play of their superstar Sidney Crosby.
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Crosby was, and still is, the cornerstone for the Pittsburgh offense but, this season, Crosby only has 29 points in the 37 games he has played this season and these numbers are absolutely mediocre for a player of his calibre.
The 28-year-old has averaged over a point a game for the past ten seasons, a start contrast to this campaign where he has been setting his all time career low with about 0.7 points per game.
The 2005 first overall pick has been experiencing numerous line changes during this season.
Crosby has played with numerous linemates, such as: Phil Kessel, Chris Kunitz, Pascal Dupuis (who retired earlier this season due to medical reasons), David Perron, and Patric Hornqvist.
The inability to find Crosby a constant, suitable line is definitely cutting into his production since he cannot build any long-lasting chemistry with his rotating linemates.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have also been failing to score as they are fourth last in the NHL in goals for, with 90 goals in 38 games.
In addition to the lack of offensive production, the star-studded Penguins have also struggled to win games. They have only managed to win 19 out of their 38 games and this statistic is alarming because of the amount of talent in the Penguins' lineup.
The Penguins currently sit one place out of the wild card spot in the Eastern Conference.
Here's the Good News
The Penguins do have a few things to be optimistic about. Kris Letang and Sidney Crosby returned the lineup on December 26 and contributed greatly on the first powerplay together.
The addition of offensive defenseman Trevor Daley bolstered the stability and offensive prowess of the Penguins' blueline, something the franchise had desperately needed to address.
Furthermore, Crosby has been showing huge signs of improvement after scoring five goals and ten points in the past seven games. Crosby led the Penguins over the New York Islanders on January 2 by scoring two beautiful goals.
In addition to Crosby's recent successes, other key players such as Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, and Marc Andre Fleury have been equally impressive as well.
Malkin has seven points in his last three games while defenseman Kris Letang has eight points and two goals in his last four games. Fleury returned from injury on January 2 and performed spectacularly on his first start of 2016 by posting a .950 save percentage against the New York Islanders.
The offensively atrocious Penguins have been looking very sharp lately and seem to be finally finding their groove as a team. If Crosby can continue his great performance, perhaps the Penguins might live up to their expectations this season.