Assistant coach Gary Agnew gives his three impressions of Pittsburgh's 4-3 shootout loss to the Panthers.
1. Let’s start with the morning. I think when you lose three players heading into a morning skate, you’ve got to juggle lines and get organized quickly. I thought the players reacted really well preparing for the game without those guys, knowing full well that it was going to be a tough night with back-to-back games against a team, especially given the game that was in Pittsburgh.
2. Secondly, I thought to be able to come back in the game, being down two and finding a way to sort of fight our way back into it and tie the game and get the point was really good.
3. Getting a point on the road is always good. I thought we played a reasonable road game. I think we gave them some scoring chances, but for the most part, they weren’t point blank. When we did give up the big chance, Fleury made the save for us.
Michelle Crechiolo gives her three impressions from the media level.
1. The Penguins learned this morning that they’d be without another three regulars, as Brandon Sutter, Steve Downie and Thomas Greiss were all sent back to Pittsburgh to be tested for the mumps. That means there are now 12 players currently out right now, with nine of them being part of the 20-man opening-night roster. The only player they could get to Florida on such short notice was goaltender Jeff Zatkoff, meaning they had to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Then the already-shorthanded Penguins lost energy winger Bobby Farnham for a while in the second period and top-six forward Blake Comeau in the third, who did not return (head coach Mike Johnston did not have an update after the game). But despite all of that … somehow, someway, this was still a game. The Penguins showed a lot of mettle, going down 3-1 early in the third but battling back to come out of this series with three out of four points.
2. The Penguins’ power play has been mired in an awful slump. If there was any night for them to get back on track, this was it as the one constant Pens had going into the game through all of the injuries and illnesses was their first power-play unit of Crosby, Malkin, Kunitz, Hornqvist and Letang. But while those guys weren’t able to get it done, the second unit converted a huge goal with just 4:52 left in the game to cut Florida’s lead to 3-2 and start the comeback. Rookie defenseman Derrick Pouliot, playing in just his second NHL game, let loose a bullet from the point that forward Nick Spaling managed to re-direct into the net past Roberto Luongo. From there, the Pens were back in it.
3. This was a much, much calmer game than the one these two teams played on Saturday in Pittsburgh. That was certainly was a chippy night with a lot of bad blood brewing between the teams, but they must have cooled during the day off as the scrums and post-whistle altercations were few and far between in this matchup. The Penguins and the Panthers just went out and played.