Make no mistake. The Columbus Blue Jackets are a good team.
They won 50 games on the season and their 108 points were the fourth most in the entire NHL during the 2016-17 season.
The Jackets are also a proud team. There was no way they were going to go down quietly after falling behind 3-0 in their First Round series against the Penguins.
Thanks to Columbus' 5-4 victory in Game 4 at Nationwide Arena on Tuesday night, the two teams will meet at least one more time in Game 5 in Pittsburgh at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday night.
The Pens weren't happy with their play despite the final score. They felt they allowed the Jackets dictate the play and failed to match their intensity.
"We just weren't good enough," Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said. "I know we're better and we will be better. But we certainly weren't good enough tonight."
"We didn't play with the urgency that we have been. We didn't play as desperate as they did," center Matt Cullen said. "We didn't match their level tonight.
The Pens didn't help their own cause by falling into a 3-0 hole early in the second period of the game. Though they made a valiant effort to claw their way back to par, they could never quite get there.
"You have to give (Columbus) credit. They came out with a lot of urgency," Sullivan said. "We talked about it before the game, being ready."
However, the Pens weren't ready enough and Columbus was able to build the early lead. As a result, the Pens played most of the game behind the ball on the scoreboard and the clock ran out on their fate.
"We were down goals and got close a couple of times, but then give up another one," captain Sidney Crosby said. "We put ourselves in a bad spot to have to keep coming back. We can't keep doing that if you want to consistently win games."
Pittsburgh deserves some credit. Despite falling behind the Pens still fought back. They pulled within one goal on several occasions during the contest, even fighting in the final minute of the game. But they couldn't find that tying tally.
"We were in the game all night long. We kept climbing back," Sullivan said. "We had moments in the game where we had some momentum. We had some life. We were on the puck. We showed glimpses of the game we wanted to get to, but weren't nearly consistent enough."
Still, the Pens are in complete control of their destiny. One loss does not erase how well they played in the first three games of the season. And they have a chance once again to eliminate the Blue Jackets in Game 5 and advance.
"We're going to go back home and reset our mindset," Sullivan said. "We've got to be more committed to play the game the right way."