Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 7-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning…
* If Mike Sullivan wasn't happy that the Pens took a penalty just 7 seconds into Friday's game against Florida, he had to be furious when they took one just 57 seconds into Saturday's game against Tampa Bay. Especially knowing they needed to have a strong start so that they wouldn't put themselves in a hole against a terrific team. But that's exactly what they did. The Bolts started digging right away, converting that power play and ending the period with a 3-0 lead. The players pointed to that third goal, which came with 0.21 seconds left, as an especially backbreaking one.
* That wasn't a completely insurmountable deficit, especially for a team like the Pens, who were coming off two straight comeback wins. But the bottom fell out in the first 7:12 of the second, when the Bolts scored three times to double their lead.
* Before the game, Sullivan talked about how they liked Antti Niemi's game in this building last week and they hoped it would be a confidence boost for him. He added that he felt the team would be in a better position to compete tonight. Unfortunately, none of that was the case. That compete was missing from the Pens' performance, from the goaltender on out. They didn't play hard enough tonight.
* This concludes the Pens' third set of back-to-backs, a situation they've struggled in thus far. The second games have been especially challenging, as they've been outscored 21-5. It's not going to get any easier from here, as the Pens have an NHL-high 19 back-to-backs this season. Needless to say, they have to start figuring out how to play better in these situations.
* Discipline was also a factor for the Pens. Sidney Crosby was the one who took that first penalty, and right after he was released, he earned himself a 10-minute misconduct for expressing his displeasure from the ref. It's not ideal to have the best player in the world stuck in the box with the team trying to battle back. Overall, the Pens continued to take stick infractions - cross-checking, slashing and hooking - and the Bolts made them pay, going 3-for-5 on the power play.
* The Pens lost Carter Rowney in the first period after he blocked a shot on Tampa Bay's first power play. That led to a lot of reshuffling of the lines, with Jake Guentzel seeing a decent amount of time at center.
* The Bolts are definitely not a team you want to have an off night against, as they are on an absolute roll right now. They are on a 6-0-1 streak, led by their first line of Vladislav Namestnikov, Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. The trio combined for nine points in this game, with Kucherov - who is the NHL's hottest goal scorer right now - tallying a pair to give him 10 in nine contests.