Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 4-1 loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 2.
* The Pens got off to another slow start in this game, and this time, they couldn't recover. The Caps came ready to play with plenty of urgency and desperation, completely tilting the ice. The Pens felt that they didn't match Washington's compete level, getting outskated, outbattled and outshot by a wide margin early on. The Pens didn't start getting to their game until just over midway through the second period, and though they had a number of prime opportunities, they couldn't yank the momentum back onto their side like they did in their comeback victory in Game 1. It was a good response, but not enough.
"We have to learn the game is 60 minutes," Kris Letang said wryly after the game.
* The Pens talked about how they had given the Caps "freebies" in Game 1, and wanted to clean that up in Game 2. It was still an issue this afternoon as two of Washington's goals came directly off turnovers. The Pens have to do a better job of managing the puck and making the right decisions with it.
* Jake Guentzel, Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist created plenty of chances again tonight, but that line's puck luck cooled off somewhat. After combining for nine goals and 16 points in the last two games, Guentzel was the only one who got on the scoresheet this afternoon, a secondary assist on Letang's goal. Hornqvist nearly joined him when he appeared to stuff home a wraparound pass from Crosby - which would have cut Washington's lead to 3-2 just over nine minutes into the third - but after video review, it was ruled that the puck did not cross the goal line. Afterward, the Pens felt that was the wrong ruling.
"My view was that it's 100 percent a goal," Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said. "When you blow it up, you can see the white. It's behind the post. Whether you use deductive reasoning or you can see the white, whatever it may be, that's how we saw it. We respectfully disagree with the league and their ruling, but that's not anything we can control."
* That line has been carrying the Pens' offense in the absence of Evgeni Malkin, who missed a second straight game with a lower-body injury. Before the game, Sullivan was asked about the lack of production throughout the rest of the lineup. He said there wasn't a whole lot of concern because other players were creating high-quality chances, they just hadn't been able to convert.
But with no other forwards getting on the scoresheet in the first two games of this series, Sullivan started to tinker with his lines in hopes of getting something going, but the Penscouldn't find a way to get production from any other trio. Moving forward, other guys have to find a way to step up and help carry the load.
* The Pens lost Brian Dumoulin early in the second period after Tom Wilson drove a shoulder into his head from behind while Alex Ovechkin checked him, forcing the Pens to rotate five defensemen for most of the game. Wilson did not receive a penalty on the play.