Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 5-2 loss against the Washington Capitals at PPG Paints Arena on Saturday.
* Mike Sullivan talks a lot about having the right mindset before games. He feels that games are won or lost before a team even steps on the ice depending on what their mentality is. And it was clear that the Penguins weren't ready to play today.
"In the first period, we were asleep," Evgeni Malkin said.
They looked out of sync from the drop of the puck, making poor decisions that led to odd-man rush after odd-man rush, leaving goalie Matt Murray hanging out to dry. And as a result, the Capitals took a 3-0 lead into the first intermission.
"I think we just kind of chased a mistake with another one," Sidney Crosby said. "You get down early in a game and I think our compete was there, we just made some bad reads and against a team that's pretty opportunistic. They're not going to make mistakes on those 2-on-1's and things like that. I think we gave them too good of chances there."
But as Sullivan also likes to say, they need to control the controllables. And the silver lining is that those details of their game are correctable.
"We just have to control those kinds of things where we're pinching and re-loading and play more as five guys together out there," Patric Hornqvist said.
* This was a missed opportunity for sure. The Penguins entered today having strung together a couple of wins after going on a six-game losing streak, and had a huge opportunity to gain some ground in the Metro Division as they had 84 points to the Capitals' 87. Instead, it was Washington who came out on the right end of this four-point game.
"Not something we can really dwell on," Crosby said. "We've got a lot of divisional games here for the rest of the year, so we've got to learn from it and move on pretty quick here."
And they'll be able to do so on Sunday against Carolina.
"I believe in this group," Malkin said. "Tomorrow is a big game. We need to start tomorrow."
* The Penguins had numerous opportunities on the man-advantage to gain some momentum and get a timely goal, but it came up short. Their biggest missed opportunity came in the first period.
After the Caps got out to an early 1-0 lead, the Penguins ended up with a 5-on-3 power play for one minute and 25 seconds. Crosby had a Grade-A scoring chance with a wide-open net, but missed. The Caps ended up killing it off and keeping the lead, which they ended up building on later in the period.
"Five-on-3's are usually important," Crosby said. "Momentum swings and shifts in games and we had one, didn't capitalize."
Then, down 3-0 entering the third period, the Penguins had another chance on the power play to get themselves back in the game - and instead, they gave up a shorthanded goal. Which ended up really hurting as the Penguins were able to get a couple of goals in the third, but had dug themselves too big of a hole. The Penguins have to find a way to make their power play a factor in games like this.
"I think you just have to stay with it and evaluate it and find out where you've got to be better," Crosby said. "We're getting good zone time, but we just have to generate a few more and bury our chances. It's always good to get one on it and build confidence from there."