Penguins Insider: Players' focus in right place
OTTAWA — Brooks Orpik is focused on the lead up to a letdown.
Orpik said Monday he did not anticipate overcoming a Game 3 loss that featured a shocking end to regulation — Ottawa's Daniel Alfredsson scored with 29 seconds remaining Sunday to force overtime even though the Penguins were on a power play — being too Herculean a task.
“With a younger team you might be a little more fragile, maybe tip-toe into the next game,” Orpik said. “A veteran team, as disappointed as you are giving it away the way we did, you learn from it. “
Orpik is one of eight Penguins who watched Detroit players lift the Cup at Mellon Arena in 2008. The Red Wings won Game 6 of that Cup Final after losing Game 5 in triple OT.
Orpik is one of 11 Penguins who the next postseason won a Game 7 at Washington after failing to clinch a second-round series by losing in overtime at home in the previous contest. Actually, the Penguins lost Game 6 after winning Game 5 in overtime on the road.
That same group of 11 rallied from a 3-0 deficit in Game 6 at Ottawa in a 2010 Round 1 series that the Senators had extended with a triple-overtime victory in Game 5 on the road.
Winger Brenden Morrow was not a part of those Penguins squads, but he has played in 87 playoff games and drawn a conclusion about the carryover potential in the playoffs.
“If it does (last),” Morrow said, “you're probably not a good enough team to get to this position.”
The Penguins have proven themselves more than good enough against the Senators.
This series has featured 207 minutes and 39 seconds of hockey. The Penguins have led for 123:02, or 59.3 percent.
Distractions were welcome Monday, the first of two off days before Game 4 at Scotiabank Place on Wednesday night.
Players began Monday at meetings with coaches, reviewing video and preparing mentally for the next-day practice. The afternoon was all about getting away from hockey — literally, players pledged not to talk about it — and relax by watching a movie, getting a massage, or hanging out at the pool of their suburban Ottawa hotel.
The Penguins lead the Senators, 2-1, but a loss by that score in Game 3 changed the complexion of the series. Clubs that lose the first overtime game of a series are often at an emotional disadvantage, as is evident by the Penguins having lost eight of 13 in that scenario.
Recent history was on Orpik's mind Monday; he cited a postseason-low scoring chances allowed to the Senators in Game 3.
“It was our best road game for 90 minutes,” coach Dan Bylsma said.