Scuderi scolds Penguins after overtime loss to Oilers
By Josh Yohe
Published: Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014, 1:00 a.m.
EDMONTON, Alberta — Rob Scuderi has seen enough.
The steady defenseman, a two-time Stanley Cup winner, doesn't believe championship teams are formed by glitz and glamour. He sent that message loud and clear after the Penguins' 4-3 overtime loss against the Oilers at Rexall Place.
Turnovers and foolish penalties finally caught up with the Penguins, and Scuderi said his team didn't deserve to win Friday's game.
“Absolutely not,” Scuderi said. “If you're going to try and play hockey like the Harlem Globetrotters, you're going to get burned. We continue to make the same mistakes, go for the same highlight reel plays.
“That might look good on the highlight reels every now and then, but it's not a formula for winning.”
The Penguins, of course, are no strangers to winning. They did receive a point in their overtime loss, lead Boston by eight points in the Eastern Conference and own a 16-point lead over the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers in the Metropolitan Division.
However, in the three games with Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang back in the lineup, the Penguins have allowed 13 goals.
Scuderi expects more from the Penguins and wants them to develop good habits in the regular season.
He didn't single out any players, though he could have had his pick. The Penguins were guilty of numerous mistakes.
“It was the whole team the entire game,” Scuderi said. “We did a good job of trying to keep it together. Our goalie (Jeff Zatkoff) made some big saves. But you can't ask that much of a goalie and a defense — a team defense — for 60 minutes. It's not going to pay off.”
The game turned late in the second period.
With a 2-0 lead despite playing a poor opening 20 minutes, the Penguins were working on a power play that could have blown the game open. For an unknown reason, center Evgeni Malkin, who did not speak with reporters after the game, decided to knock away goalie Devan Dubnyk's stick. The goaltender had lost his stick a moment earlier and was skating to collect it when Malkin knocked it away.
An altercation between the two ensued.
“There is lots to learn,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “It's a game we let slip away because of the way we played. We let a point go.”
Letang, who struggled with turnovers in the first period, was guilty of an unnecessary penalty that nullified an early power play. Malkin's penalty took away a second power play.
James Neal and Sidney Crosby scored in the second period to put the Penguins ahead 2-0. Goals by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall evened the game in the third period.
Letang's goal gave the Penguins a late 3-2 lead, but defenseman Anton Belov scored with 1:59 remaining in the third period as the Penguins again struggled to play properly with the lead.
“We got away with it for 40 minutes,” said Zatkoff, whose seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Another couple of mistakes cost the Penguins the game.
Center Brandon Sutter took a penalty in the offensive zone with 24 seconds remaining in regulation, which gave Edmonton a power play.
In overtime, Craig Adams, who had been on the ice for almost a minute, was unable to muster enough on a clearing attempt. Moments later, Jordan Eberle set up Nugent-Hopkins for the game-winner.
“You don't deserve to win games when you play like that in the third,” said Crosby, who scored against Edmonton for the first time and who now owns a 13-point lead in the NHL scoring race. “We weren't desperate enough or smart enough with the puck. We have to look at ourselves.”
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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