Assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 4-0 loss to Washington
1. First of all, we got the start that we wanted. I thought we played a good first. We had some chances. We obviously didn’t sustain it through the second and third period.
2. Two, our special teams were no good. The power play, 0-for-4. Gave up a power-play goal. When you lose the special teams game, it’s really hard to win the game.
3. Thirdly, our competitive level, when things got ramped up midway through the second, I know we didn’t ramp it up to the level it needed to be at to stay in that game.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three takeaways from the press box.
1. This game reminded me of one from earlier in the season, when the Pens played the Rangers back in November. The Rangers were vocal about wanting to bounce back from the tough weekend they’d had going into the game and the Pens knew that, but still weren’t able to match their compete level and intensity. The Rangers ended up winning 5-0. That’s what tonight felt like. The Caps lost to Columbus 4-3 last night and were furious at their effort. They wanted to respond and did just that, while the Pens wanted to build off their 5-3 win over the Jets and weren’t able to. The Caps came out with a lot more energy and used it to smother the Pens, who just didn’t seem to have that same killer instinct.
2. The Pens were going up against a goaltender who was playing his second game in as many nights. And they didn’t make Braden Holtby work enough. After doing an excellent job of scoring from in and around the blue paint just 24 hours earlier, the Pens couldn’t get to that area enough tonight. It felt like the Pens were forced to lobby a lot of shots from the perimeter that Holtby saw the entire time and easily gobbled up. That was certainly partly because of the way Washington played in front of their goaltender; their structure was difficult to penetrate and credit to them for that. But the Pens needed to just barge their way in there like they did on Tuesday, and weren’t able to do that.
3. This was the kind of game where you felt for Marc-Andre Fleury. The score doesn’t necessarily reflect his play. While the Pens played a decent first period and came out of it down only 1-0, the Caps took over from there and had a lot of quality chances on the Pens netminder, especially on their power-play chances, and he had to come up with a lot of extremely difficult saves. This loss certainly wasn’t his fault..