Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 3-2 overtime loss against the Washington Capitals in Game 3 at PPG Paints Arena.
*There's no way around it. The loss of Sidney Crosby was the biggest factor in this contest (for more info on the Pens captain click here).
Crosby was lost just over five minutes into the game. But the effect was seismic. The collective energy of the Pens team and the fans in the building was dampened by the scene.
Then Pittsburgh lost forward Conor Sheary due to a friendly-fire collision with Patric Hornqvist.
The line combinations and power play were out of sync. The Pens had trouble finding a flow and rhythm. But the Pens have overcome injuries all season long. They suffered 286 man-games lost, but still finished 2nd overall in the NHL standings.
So their next-man up mentality shown through as Pittsburgh overcame the loss of both men with some nice rotation by the coaching staff and a work
*What a gutsy performance by the Pens. They didn't get the result they wanted, but they battled all the way to the bitter end. Pittsburgh overcame ridiculous odds - trailing 2-0 with two minutes left in regulation - to force an overtime period.
The Pens scored twice in a 48-second span in the final two minutes to make the Capitals sweat it out in the sudden death session.
It wasn't their prettiest game, but they fought, scraped and clawed their way back into the contest. Even though it didn't end the way they wanted it to, the Pens can hold their heads high for their effort.
*One Pen that continued his stretch of stellar play was goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. He made several brilliant stops including a desperate paddle reach to steal an Evgeny Kuznetsov goal right at the goal line and a diving (literally off of his skates) glove stop on Marcus Johansson.
Fleury finished with 30 saves on the night. In the first three games of this series he's stopped 89 of 95.
*Another player that made his presence felt (literally) was Chris Kunitz. He was a wrecking ball on the ice all night. Not only did he throw the body and play aggressive, but even got involved in some post-whistle nastiness. Kunitz made an impact for his team.