Here are the three biggest takeaways from the Penguins' 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena.
1. Tough loss
The Penguins had embarrassed the Maple Leafs in the previous two meetings, outscoring them by an 11-3 count. And with this game being a home-and-home series, the Penguins knew Toronto would want to respond to Pittsburgh's dominant 5-2 win on Tuesday in Pittsburgh.
Indeed, Toronto played a much better game from start to finish. Though the Leafs didn't control the game quite the way the score would indicate, Toronto was no doubt the better team.
The Maple Leafs were called out by their hometown media for lacking heart. Even the head coach made a note of their performance from Tuesday. The Maple Leafs responded to the critics and showed what they're capable of in the victory.
"We had a good win the other night," forward Bryan Rust said. "Then coming into their building, I don't think they were too happy about that. We knew they were going to come out hard. We had to try and match that. We had to try and play the right way. I just don't think we did that for a full 60 minutes."
The second period was the turning point. After a scoreless first, Toronto scored three goals in the middle frame in a little over five minutes to take a commanding 3-0 lead. The Maple Leafs cruised from there.
"We didn't deserve to win tonight," Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said. "They played better than us. They outplayed us."
If there was one major factor in tonight's game, it was the battle in the faceoff circle. Toronto owned the dot, going 33-20 for a 62-percent success rate. For two teams that rely on puck possession, winning the puck at the start of the play is crucial.
"It's an important part of the game," Sullivan said. "What was discouraging was that we won a couple of draws and couldn't get the puck out because we didn't execute, so we put ourselves in a position to have to take more. Then we just didn't compete hard enough off the loss."
And it wasn't just the possession aspect. Toronto scored three of its four goals directly after winning a faceoff.
"We have to find a way to win more draws," Crosby said, "and if we do lose it, we have to find a way to defend it."
3. Kahun hurt
As if a 4-0 loss wasn't bad enough, the Penguins had a scare late in the third period when Dominik Kahun was hurt blocking a shot. He remained on the ice for some time before getting up and leaving the ice.
Kahun's status is unknown. The winger had just returned Tuesday night after missing eight games with a concussion.