All of the momentum was on Pittsburgh’s side in the final minutes of their matchup with Anaheim on Monday.

With three seconds left on a brilliant penalty kill that had kept the score even at 3-3, Lars Eller drew a tripping call, sending the Penguins to a power play of their own. Right away, the Ducks sent the puck over the glass, giving Pittsburgh a 5-on-3 advantage – a situation they had already converted early in the game.

But not only did the Penguins fail to score; a turnover at the blue line led to a shorthanded breakaway for Mason MacTavish, who was first out of the box. He got his second of the night with remaining in regulation to give the Ducks a 4-3 win.

The mood in the Penguins locker room after such a tough ending – their second loss in a row and fifth in the past six games – was one of disappointment and frustration, with Evgeni Malkin taking ownership for the power play’s role in the result.

“It’s our fault, for sure, the first unit power play,” Malkin said. “We lost the game. It’s tough. Between win and loss, it’s like, one mistake, you know? We should play better, because the team fought all night. We can’t play like this.”

Malkin speaks with the media

Erik Karlsson, who had scored that first 5-on-3 goal less than three minutes into play, tried getting the puck over to Malkin, who had netted one 5-on-4 at the end of the second. But Adam Henrique broke up the pass and pushed it forward to MacTavish.

“If we do not score, we can’t give them a breakaway,” Malkin said. “We know it’s coming, and I know it’s coming. I should maybe go a little bit back and play safety. But we think about a goal, we try to score, we try to win the game. It’s a tough loss.”

Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry also took accountability for his part in that sequence.

“Obviously, I need to be better. and I think that’s the bottom line,” he said. “The guys need a save there at the end, or one of the other ones… I don’t think I’ve been giving the guys enough (of a) chance to win every night."

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the netminder’s inconsistent play through the first month of the 2022-23 campaign has been like the whole team’s. The Penguins have had moments when they’ve really good, and moments when they haven’t been.

“Right now, we're finding ways to lose. We gotta find ways to win,” Sullivan said. “So, do we need to make some changes? We might have to, and we'll look at that. But this one is a discouraging one, because once again, I thought for most of the night, we carried the play.”

The Penguins have fallen to 3-6 on the young season, which ranks last in the Eastern Conference. Malkin was asked how worried he is, and if he’s concerned about how things are going.

“Of course not,” Malkin said. “I mean, again, we should win tonight, for sure. We are not happy right now. How we play at home… it’s a good game tonight for us. We fight every inch, every period. It’s a tough loss for sure, but we can’t stop. It’s just the beginning of the season. We have to focus next game. I believe in this group. I believe in what we are doing. Just support each other, and play hard. I mean, we have no choice. The game, it’s not easy. Every team fight, but we need to fight back.”

They'll have a few days to regroup, as the Penguins do not play again until Saturday in San Jose, which is part of a three-game, nine-day road trip to the West Coast.

“It’s important,” Sullivan said. “We've got a lot of hockey ahead of us. We just got to dig in. We got to win the next game.”