Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet shares his three impressions from the bench of the Penguins’ 5-0 loss against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.
1. We didn’t like our battle early in the game. The Rangers were coming off an upsetting loss they were not happy about. We weren’t ready for the challenge.
2. The start was a difference in the game. We had no pushback. We had a good run and this is a good wakeup call for us.
3. The last half of the game we tried to play back into our system and better. But at that point it was too late. Hopefully that helps us for our next game at Toronto.
Sam Kasan shares his three impressions from the press box.
1. Handling Adversity
The Penguins entered their contest riding a 7-game winning streak. That streak came to an abrupt end with a shellacking at the hands of the New York Rangers. In an 82-game season, there will always be contests like this, where everything goes against you. The Pens ran into one of those games. But a team learns more about itself through losing and dealing with adversity than winning. So while no team wants to lose, these kinds of defeats can be good for the Penguins in the long-term (as long as they don’t happen too often, obviously). Pittsburgh will take a long look at this game and move on.
2. Fleury Battles
The biggest bright spot for the Penguins was goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He was under siege the entire contest, but battled his heart out. Without his superb effort, this game could have ended at 8-0. When the walls were crumbling around him, Fleury was the rock the team needed. He showed a lot of mental toughness to not get frustrated and to keep competing even though the game was out of reach.
3. Mixing It Up
With a considerable deficit on the scoreboard and the Penguins needing a spark, head coach Mike Johnston mixed up his line combinations. It helped having the services of Beau Bennett for the first time this season. Johnston reunited the Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis line. Blake Comeau worked with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist (the coaches’ original plan to start the season was to have Malkin and Hornqvist together). The third line consisted of Nick Spaling, Brandon Sutter and Bennett.