Olli Jokinen’s late goal Tuesday night gave the Panthers a 3-2 win over the Penguins at Mellon Arena.
The defeat was the third-straight for the Penguins (11-11-4). Florida snapped a six-game losing streak with the triumph.
“We knew we were struggling and we knew we had to be desperate, too. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are; it’s always tough to lose,” Penguins center Sidney Crosby said. “This is one we wanted bad and unfortunately we didn’t get it.”
“We were in the game; we just came up short. We don’t have the effort of all the players,” Penguins coach Michel Therrien said. “We have some guys who give everything they’ve got and then we have some guys who don’t. We’re not the type of team that will have success if the effort of everyone is not there.
“It has to come from the inside. Some of those guys think the effort is there, but it’s not good enough. They pretend that the effort is there.”
Crosby certainly gave his best effort as he figured in on both Penguins goals. He had an assist on Erik Christensen’s power-play goal in the first period and then tallied a highlight-reel goal late in the third. With 9:02 left on the clock, Crosby skated down the slot, sliced through two Panthers defenders with the puck. He was tripped up, but was able to dive after the puck and flick it past Alexander Auld for the spectacular goal. Sergei Gonchar assisted on the play.
However, Jokinen robbed Pittsburgh’s momentum when his laser slap-shot flew past a screened Jocelyn Thibault for a power-play goal with 5:07 to play.
“It’s all about a learning process for a young team. There are not many guys who have first of all played in the playoffs on our team. There are not many guys on the team who have been in the race to get to the playoffs. It’s a learning process,” Therrien said. “We don’t have much experience in our lineup. But, eventually we’ll get there. We’re close. It’s not a matter that we’re not in games or getting totally dominated. It’s not that case. We’re there; we’re close. We’re missing just that little thing that will help us to win games.
“We got some chances. We are having a hard time capitalizing on chances that will give us confidence. It’s a build up for the other team when you don’t capitalize on your chances.”
Gary Roberts had a first-period goal for the Panthers, while Jozef Stumpel scored a power-play goal in the second period.
“Penalty killing did not do the job again tonight. Lately, we give up one or two power-play goals a game,” Therrien said. “We’re not going to win games like that. So, we’re going to have to sit down and think about if we can use different players because, right now, it doesn’t work with the role that we try to give some players. We’ll think about it and re-evaluate the situation with our guys on the penalty kill.”
The Penguins return to action Thursday in New York against the Rangers.
ICE CHIPS: Micki DuPont and Jordan Staal were the Penguins’ healthy scratches…Steve Montador, Joel Kwiatkowski and Joe Nieuwendyk were the Panthers’ healthy scratches…The announced attendance was 12,511…Olli Jokinen (No. 1), Sidney Crosby (No. 2), and Gary Roberts (No. 3) were the game’s three stars.