PHILADELPHIA -- Brooks Orpik immediately took offense to the question because it was about the Penguins' character.
"I'm not going to answer questions about our character," Orpik said. "We have 20 guys in here that are giving the maximum effort."
Defense - PIT
GOALS: 0 | ASST: 0 | PTS: 0
SOG: 1 | +/-: -2
To a man, the Penguins say the fact that they're trailing 3-0 in this Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Flyers has nothing to do with their effort or character. They aren't saying the same thing about their composure, which was a trademark of the Pittsburgh teams that went to the Stanley Cup Final in 2008 and won it all in 2009.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said the last thing the Penguins wanted to do heading into this series against Philadelphia was get into a penalty-filled game with post-whistle scrums. That's exactly what happened in Game 3 Sunday, and the Penguins once again gave up eight goals, dropping an 8-4 decision at the Wells Fargo Center. Similar situations developed repeatedly in the first two games of this series in Pittsburgh as the Flyers logged a pair of come-from-behind wins.
Now, the Penguins are facing the enviable task of having to win four straight games, beginning with Game 4 Wednesday at Wells Fargo Center, to stay alive in a postseason many thought they would dominate. They are in this unexpected predicament because they've been unable to keep a lead or stay out of the penalty box. The Flyers have burned the Penguins to the tune of 20 goals, including a 5-for-9 clip on the power play.
"The biggest thing is we can't point the finger at one another," Orpik said. "We have 20 guys that haven't played well up to this point. It hasn't been one or two guys or one or two areas. It's been every area, every guy. We just haven't been good yet."
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There was some thought prior to Game 3 that heading into a hostile environment such as the one that was awaiting the Penguins at Wells Fargo Center on Sunday would be a good thing to galvanize a team that blew leads a 3-0 lead in Game 1 and 3-1 lead in Game 2.
The problem is the Penguins couldn't come together. They again had trouble keeping a lead in the first period; giving away a shorthanded goal less than three minutes after Jordan Staal staked them to an early lead. They gave up two more to Danny Briere before the wheels came off for the first time.
It surprisingly started with captain Sidney Crosby, who not only whacked twice at Ilya Bryzgalov's glove after the goalei had frozen the puck, but then poked Jakub Voracek's glove away from the forward leaning down to reclaim it later in the post-whistle incidcent.
Crosby's first act prompted Claude Giroux and a few other Flyers to jump in and pin him against the end boards. His second act prompted Kimmo Timonen to jump in and challenge him. Giroux, though, got in the middle and fought with Crosby.
"It's the playoffs and a lot of things happen out there from both sides," Crosby said. "Everyone is guilty of it. Nobody is blaming anyone here. It's heated out there and that's what the playoffs are like."
The Penguins know it'll be tough to survive past Wednesday if they continue to let the playoffs be like that for them.
"I know one of our keys going into the series was not to get involved in that stuff and obviously we didn't do that (Sunday)," Orpik said. "I'm not going to say that's why we lost the game, but if that's one of the keys to the series, you tend to want to stick to those."