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Pens' sole focus is on Game 4

by Michelle Crechiolo @PensInsideScoop / Penguins Team Reporter

Control the controllables. Don't dwell on what's already happened. Learn from it and move by it. Be ready for the next challenge and take care of the task at hand. And perhaps most importantly, stay in the moment.

That's what Mike Sullivan and the rest of the Penguins coaching staff have discussed with their team all year, and it's more important than ever as they look to keep their season alive heading into Game 4 of their First Round matchup with the New York Islanders on Tuesday at PPG Paints Arena down 3-0 in the series.

"Right now, our team is looking at one game," Sullivan said. "We're going to try to win one game. That's the mindset that we need to have. I can tell you that as the coach of this group, I believe in this group that we have. These guys are capable of great things."

It starts with his captain, Sidney Crosby, who has accomplished seemingly everything imaginable in this league. There isn't much left that he hasn't done, but helping lead his team to a comeback of this magnitude is obviously something he would take a lot of pride in.

"It's not the position you want to be in, but with that being said, I'd love to be a part of a team that comes back from that," Crosby said.

"As a group we talk about what we need to do to come in here mentally and physically to win a game tomorrow, and that's all we can control," Crosby continued. "We can't get all those games back at once, so I think that we have to trust what's gotten you to this point and what our strengths are and how we got here, but also learn from the games and we'll look to do that tomorrow."

The Pens have players in their locker room who have been on both sides of this situation. Crosby referenced being part of series where the Penguins have been up 3-0, most recently in the 2017 First Round against Columbus, and what they saw from their opponents then.

"I think that level of urgency that you're going to get from a team that's down, that's something we know we can use to our advantage," Crosby said. "It just comes down to winning one and getting some momentum and that's what we're going to try to do tomorrow."

In 2013, Brian Dumoulin was part of the team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton who helped the Penguins erase a 3-0 deficit against the Providence Bruins in the Eastern Conference semifinals and win the series in seven games.

"We know it can be done, teams have done it before and we still have belief," Dumoulin said. "You hear about the odds in everything, sometimes they're in your favor and sometimes they're not. And at this point obviously they're not, but teams have done it and that's why you play seven games."

The key to that comeback, said Dumoulin, was focusing on just continuing to get better.

"That's what we did and took it game by game," he said. "I think the team that wins this series is the team that gets better throughout it. It's funny, once you win one or win two, the statistics start looking better and the pressure kind of stops on us and turns to them. So we just have to get this next one."

Getting better each game is something Matt Murray has always tried to do, as it's a mantra Penguins goalie coach Mike Buckley has for his netminders. It's a mindset that will hopefully serve him and the rest of the team well heading into Tuesday.

"I think we're in a tough spot, obviously, but all we can do is try to play the right way and let the results take care of themselves and take it one game at a time," Murray said. "It's the same stuff I always say. It doesn't matter that we're down 3-0. It's in the past now, we can't do anything about it. We just have to look forward. We just have to worry about doing what we need to do and playing the right way and let the result take care of itself."

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