Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 4-1 loss against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre.
*The Pens lost back-to-back games in regulation for the first time in their past 90 games. Although the past 2 setbacks, against Washington and Ottawa, are disappointing, we shouldn't lose sight of the bigger picture of success that this team has had over the last 390 days.
*Pens head coach Mike Sullivan is a fiery guy on the bench. Late in the third period Sullivan was tossed from the game and had to leave the bench. Although he wouldn't divulge the reason for the tossing, "that's between me and the refs," it was that kind of night for Pittsburgh. Whatever the reason you have to love Sullivan's passion.
*The Pens penalty killing unit struggled at the start of the season, but appeared to be turning a corner heading into the bye week, having been perfect in 8 of 10 games. But since returning to action the team has taken a slight step back, having allowed 5 power-play goals in the past 3 games. Pittsburgh surrendered 2 man-advantage tallies to Ottawa and it ended up being the difference in the game.
*The Pens played a late game in Washington on Wednesday night and then flew to Ottawa following the game. The Pens didn't arrive at their team hotel until 3 a.m. The Pens still need to get up for the game and weren't making any excuses against Ottawa. But you have to wonder what type of toll that played in their energy levels.
*Goaltender Matt Murray returned to action after suffering a lower-body injury a little over 2 weeks ago. As expected there was some early rust to work through, but Murray got stronger and stronger as the game went. You could see him regaining his focus and poise. By the third period he looked like the Matt Murray of old, confidence and with swagger. Even Murray said after the game that by the third period he felt back to normal. Unfortunately, the guys in front of him didn't give him much help tonight.