Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 5-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings at PPG Paints Arena.
*Puck management is always important, but especially so when facing an opponent that thrives on speed and a strong transition game. The Pens lost to Detroit for 1 reason only, they made poor decisions with worse execution.
Pittsburgh surrendered 4 goals (not counting the empty net) on the afternoon, and 3 of those Red Wings' tallies were the result of turnovers. Worse, 2 of the turnovers took place uncontested in the defensive zone.
The coaching staff constantly preaches puck management and the Pens are typically very good in that category. In fact, it's one of their biggest strengths. But that was not the case against the Wings.
*The Pens did generate their fair share of offensive opportunities. A lot of credit belongs to goaltender Petr Mrazek. The Czech keeper played on back-to-back afternoons - having defeated the Washington Capitals in a shootout on Saturday. Mrazek made several spectacular saves in the game, the biggest a sprawling glove save on Nick Bonino. There's a reason he was named the game's No. 1 star.
*The Pens had 4 power-play opportunities in the contest and came up empty. Pittsburgh had 2 man-advantage chances in the 3rd period while trailing by 2 goals. It was their best chance to cut into the Red Wings' lead, but it was to no avail. If Pittsburgh had managed to score just 1 power-play goal, it may have changed the outcome of the game.
*One big bright spot for the Pens was the play of Tom Kuhnhackl. The German forward has found himself in and out of the lineup this season, but his work on the PK today was remarkable. He was solid on the kill front, but also managed to chip in a little offense. Kuhnhackl scored Pittsburgh's 1st goal with a nice shorthanded tally. He created another chance on a latter PK with a breakaway. Although his shot missed the net on that chance, it was another display of him creating and being a factor in the contest.