After a 7-1 loss to the Capitals on Wednesday at Verizon Center that head coach Mike Sullivan called "embarrassing" and "humbling," the Pens practiced on Thursday at Prudential Center before bussing to New York, where they will play the Islanders on Friday.
Before the session, the coaching staff met with the players to address last night.
"Quite honestly, what we spoke about I think will stay between us," Sullivan said. "The players shared some feelings. The coaches shared our insights. But I think it's a hard lesson to learn because it's a humbling experience. We believe in this group we have and we have to take strides here to move as a team in the right direction."
That started today, where Sullivan started the session by having his team skate laps for a few minutes before moving on to other objectives. While we haven't seen the Pens skate like that since training camp, it also wasn't a full bag skate.
"Different coaches choose to exercise different tactics (to try and hold the group accountable) depending on the team that they have, the group that they have and where they're at," Sullivan said. "I believe we have a mature group here that understands what it takes to win. Right now, our thought process is to work with these guys and try to get us moving in the right direction just as far as our consistency of play."
Sullivan added that part of the focus this afternoon was getting an active recovery, with the Pens playing so many games in a short amount of time.
"I think it was a great practice today," defenseman Ian Cole said. "We did some of the harder drills that we do. It was short, but it was a high-paced practice. There's only so much you really can do in the middle of a three in four, back-to-back coming up. But when you do those high paced drills, you try to get something out of them. Hopefully we got a little better today and hopefully that will show this weekend."
Forwards Patric Hornqvist and Chris Kunitz were the only players absent.
"Hornqvist is out with a concussion," Sullivan said. "That will be a day-to-day thing. Kunitz is day-to-day with a lower-body injury."
Defenseman Derrick Pouliot, who skated with the team for a third straight day, is continuing to progress.
"He was full contact today," said Sullivan of Pouliot, who has been out with a lower-body injury sustained in his season debut on Oct. 20 vs. San Jose. "It's a good step for him. We'll see how he responds and go from there."