Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 6.
* "Empty would be a good word," Matt Murray said when asked to describe his emotions. The Pens haven't tasted defeat in a long time - with some of these guys never experiencing it at the NHL level - and it's disappointing to be going through this now, especially when they had a chance to do something truly special.
But it's a credit to this group that they were even in a position to three-peat, and Mike Sullivan said he couldn't be more proud of them as their coach. While it's going to take them time to digest this, he did say that sometimes you learn more from failures than successes.
* The games in this series have been so tight, and tonight was no exception. Both teams did a good job of taking away each other's time and space and limiting their shots and chances. To a man, everybody in both lineups defended incredibly hard.
That being said, heading into this game, the Pens said they had to cut down on the chances they were giving up late in regulation, like in Games 3 and 5. And they actually did a pretty good job of that for the most part. Unfortunately, the overtime winner - scored 5:27 minutes into the extra period - came on a breakaway to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Washington just did a better job all series of capitalizing on their chances, even though the Pens didn't give up a lot of them.
* It didn't help the Pens were going up against a talented team with a fantastic goaltender. Braden Holtby had a heck of a series. He was the Caps' best player and the difference-maker. He was especially brilliant tonight. He looked locked in from the drop of the puck, and the only goal he allowed in the game deflected off a teammate's stick.
The goal Murray allowed in regulation was one he'd want back. But he did a tremendous job of putting that behind him and battling back to come up with some really huge saves in the game. He gave his team a chance to win this game, and that's all they could ask for.
* It wasn't the Pens' strongest performance. They had said before the game they had to play without fear, embrace the challenge and not get overwhelmed by the circumstance, but at times they looked tentative. But you can't say that the effort wasn't there. They left it all out there. They just didn't have a lot left to give. "The last two years we played unbelievable," Evgeni Malkin said. "Three years is so hard. Maybe we were a little bit tired. Now we look forward."