The Penguins are still stinging over their 2-1 overtime loss to New Jersey in last Saturday’s home opener. The team is frustrated with their performance but head coach Michel Therrien understands that they can improve on their efforts.
“We need to keep it simple,” he said. “I think right now, especially the last game, we tried fancy plays. We turned the puck over way too much. We have to get back to the good habits. Our work ethic (has) got to be there. Concentration has got to be there. When you’re a high-risk team, you put yourself in trouble like we did last game with the result that we had.”
The Penguins spent the majority of the game in their own zone and were outshot 49-15, a more than 3-to-1 margin.
“We’re not happy with the way we played,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “We need to make sure that we make smarter decisions and give ourselves a chance to be successful. Last game we didn’t do that and we saw the results.”
The Penguins insist that they need to improve thier execution.
“We know what we need to do,” Ruslan Fedotenko said. “We just have to execute better. I think we just need to be more aggressive to the net and focus on scoring goals.”
“We (made) bad decisions with the puck,” Therrien said. “This is something we preach. You always have to make the percentage play. We created a lot of turnovers. Every time we got the puck we were back checking because we gave them away. That’s not the way a winning team plays. We’re going to have to get better and I know we will.”Marc-Andre Fleury
recorded a career-high 47 saves in the game and was only 2:29 away from a shutout. His stellar performance enabled the Penguins to pick up a point by virtue of the loss occurring in overtime.
“These are big points we need to get right now,” Fleury said. “It’s always tight at the end of the year for the playoffs and the conference champion. We need those points.”
We know what we’re capable of doing. We have to make sure we have pride in the way we play. - Sidney Crosby
“Any points you can get are important but we want to get them the right way too,” Crosby said. “It’s really important that we play the right way. We know what we’re capable of doing. We have to make sure we have pride in the way we play.”
Pittsburgh had success in the first period of the game. Miroslav Satan scored his first goal as a Penguin – on a power play – to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead. The Penguins created a number of quality scoring opportunities and took the play to the Devils. However, New Jersey dominated the rest of the game, holding a 39-7 advantage in shots following the first intermission.
“In the first (period) we were moving our feet, making good decisions, and we were getting good chances,” Crosby said. “The second and third, we started to cheat a little bit. When you cheat against a team like Jersey, especially, you’re going to pay for it. They feed off of that. We have to make sure we move our feet and are disciplined as far as the decisions we make.”
“I thought we played a really solid first period,” Therrien said. “After, we started to lose our concentration and were unable to maintain the effort and concentration that we did in the first period.”
The Penguins hope to build on that early game success for Tuesday night when they face the Philadelphia Flyers. It is the second of four straight home games for Pittsburgh and is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.
“Both teams get after each other,” Crosby said. “They have a lot of depth. They’re a great team. It’s no secret why they went pretty far last year. It’s a good test for us and always an intense game.”
“The conference, the division, the teams are very good,” Fedotenko said. “Every night will be a battle. It’s a good test for us. Last game we didn’t play how we should play. Hopefully we can rebound (Tuesday).”