Penguins notebook: Team tries to move past missed opportunity
The Penguins said all the right things leading up to Game 5. Problem was, they didn't do enough correctly during it.
As a result of Friday's 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers, the Penguins face a Game 6 on Sunday night at Madison Square Garden. Once again, the Penguins will try to close out this Stanley Cup playoff second-round series.
“We missed an opportunity to come out and play a good game (Friday) night and give ourselves a chance to win,” forward Craig Adams said Saturday following an optional practice at Southpointe. “We don't want to miss another chance.”
Part of that was the Rangers, who rallied behind winger Martin St. Louis after the unexpected death of his mother the day before.
But the Penguins also tried too many “cute plays,” defenseman Rob Scuderi said.
“When it wasn't working for us, it ended up coming back on us, and they capitalized,” Scuderi said. “I think if we can simplify our game, play a north-south game like we did in the majority of the first four (games), we give ourselves a better chance.”
Bylsma sounded like a tennis player while discussing the “unforced errors” that led to the Rangers' two power-play goals Friday.
A delay-of-game call on defenseman Robert Bortuzzo for shooting the puck over the boards in the defensive zone led to the first goal.
A too-many-men call created a chance for the Rangers to strike again with the man-advantage.
The Rangers needed a total of 68 seconds to cash in.
“I don't want to say we weren't ready to play that game, but we had some unforced errors,” Bylsma said. “They took full opportunity of it. They deserved it. They played real well, real hard, came at us and gave us everything they had.”
Scuderi doesn't agree with former Penguins defenseman Peter Taglianetti. Neither does Bylsma.
Taglianetti tweeted during Game 5 that, “I think it is time for Scuderi to watch a few games from the stands.”
While Scuderi's work in Round 1 against Columbus — a minus-2, penalties taken in each of the first three games — came under scrutiny, he recently has found a rhythm playing alongside Bortuzzo and contributed to a penalty-kill unit that didn't let the Rangers score on their first 15 chances of the series.
Bylsma defended Scuderi, pointing to his work specifically in Games 5 and 6 of the Columbus series as well as Games 2 and 4 against the Rangers.
“Rob has probably played some his best hockey for us in these playoffs and this year,” Bylsma said. “It's a fairly unassuming type of role in how he defends and what he does for our team.”
Scuderi, who has been paired with Bortuzzo for all but one period since Game 5 of the Blue Jackets series, acknowledged his critics but didn't cop to it disrupting his sleep patterns.
“I don't worry about outside influences much,” Scuderi said. “I just try to do what I know has worked for me in the past and what I think will continue to bring me success.”
Home-ice … advantage?
The Penguins are 3-3 at Consol Energy Center this postseason, with 16 goals for and 16 goals against — hardly the dominance a No. 2 seed would expect.
“I think at some point you want to please the home crowd. You want to please the home fans,” Scuderi said. “If it doesn't work out, sometimes you start to press a little. You start to panic because you want to protect home ice in the playoffs. If we are thinking like that, it's something we have to get over. For the most part, fans would rather see us win than put on a good show.”
Forwards Brian Gibbons, Taylor Pyatt, Chris Conner, Marcel Goc, Craig Adams and Tanner Glass practiced Saturday. Same for defenseman Rob Scuderi, Deryk Engelland and Robert Bortuzzo, as well as goaltender Jeff Zatkoff.
Orpik remains out
Defenseman Brooks Orpik, who left Game 4 after the first period with an undisclosed injury, did not practice.
Orpik had missed the previous five games before returning, though Bylsma has said the injuries are not related.
Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.
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