The Pens allowed 41 shots tonight! Since the break, the lowest goals allowed total was four against Ottawa. They have given up less than three goals once in the last 26 games. They've given up less than two goals once. Once! Sure, the goaltending has been bad a lot of the time (especially when Fleury isn't playing), but the defense has been putrid all year, and hasn't shown any improvement. It's because of garbage defensemen like Jackman, Cross, Odelein, Tarnstrom, Poapst, etc. that this team has no D. They aren't going to get better without overhauling the D. That's it and that's all.
We can discuss the merits of Cross or Melichar or Jackman, but crap is crap. It's like Pirates fans arguing about Tike Redman in recent years. When you're arguing about garbage players like that, you know your team is in bad shape.
We're stuck with Gonchar, but he's been ok the last couple months. Whitney and Orpik will improve. I expect Whitney in particular to really pick it up next season. Welch will be up next year, but he's sure to have growing pains. I'd like to see the Pens dump the garbage and pick up a couple guys in the offseason who can play legit, solid, physical D. That's this teams absolute biggest need. They can keep a Melichar or Scuderi as depth as a seventh defenseman, but they shouldn't be in the lineup regularly.