Therrien distraught after Penguins' collapse
There were no answers to be found inside the Penguins' dressing room Thursday after 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals at Mellon Arena.
Not one player could explain the club's complete collapse -- blowing a three-goal lead with 38 minutes remaining, getting outshot, 21-6, in the third period -- against a Capitals' team that appeared lifeless early.
"It can't happen," said captain Sidney Crosby, who has yet to score a goal in five games. "We gave it back to them in the third. We didn't make them earn it. We tried to play too passive, and we didn't do little things that it takes to win hockey games.
"We learned a tough lesson."
Coach Michel Therrien's post-game comments suggested the Penguins can expect some more schooling at practice today.
"Unacceptable ... (immature) and unacceptable," Therrien said of the Penguins' third-period performance.
"We lost the game because we stopped working in the third period. It's pretty simple. We didn't follow the plan in the third. We played on our heels. We were losing battles.
"We are not paying the price to score goals."
Washington center Boyd Gordon capped a stunning comeback by beating goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury at 15:43 of the third period.
Therrien described the Penguins' 5-on-5 play throughout the game as "horrible."
That's a trend not exclusive to last night. The Penguins have scored a 5-on-5 goal in only one of their past four games.
A maligned power-play, which opened the season only 1-for-14 over two games against Ottawa in Stockholm, Sweden, has contributed six of the Penguins' 12 goals to date. The Penguins went 3-for-6 on the man advantage against Washington, getting second goals from defenseman Alex Gologoski, center Evgeni Malkin and right wing Miroslav Satan.
Even when Washington left wing Tomas Fleischmann scored at 5:45 of the second period, the Penguins' 3-1 lead seemed safe. They carried that edge into the third period, which the Capitals entered with only nine shots.
But for the fourth time, the Penguins were outshot by an opponent in the third period. They have been bested in that category, 66-29, including 50-16 in three contests at Mellon Arena.
Goals by Washington left wing Alexander Semin and center Michael Nylander preceded Gordon's winner.
Defenseman Mark Eaton had no answers.
"We can't have a mentality where we are just going to sit back and kill the clock," Eaton said. "But it's tough to say ... your guess is as good as mine. It's tough to figure out right now."
Malkin, who recorded three points, had no clue why the Penguins played a "bad system" in the third period last night. He was equally dumbfounded as to why fellow Russian and Washington left wing Alexander Ovechkin appeared intent on cutting his promising NHL career short.
"I don't... Ovechkin is a great player," Malkin said. "Every time he hits me, I don't know why."
Eaton said the Penguins "for some reason changed (their) game in the third" against the Capitals. But Therrien was adamant they were not instructed to sit on the lead.
The Penguins had lost only once in regulation when leading after the second period over the previous two seasons.
"Do you really believe I ask those guys to back up, just wait, and Marc-Andre is making 20 saves?" Therrien said. "I don't remember in the last few years losing a game with the lead in the third period."Additional Information:
The Trib's stars
The 3 best players from last night's game according to the Tribune-Review:
1 C Boyd Gordon, Capitals
A late third-period goal gave Washington the win.
2 C Evgeni Malkin, Penguins
Recorded 3 points against Russian rival Alexander Ovechkin.
3 C Michael Nylander, Capitals
Set up goal to get Capitals close, scored one that pulled them even.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Based on glowing recommendation, Pens hire Agnew as assistant
- Penguins re-sign Megna, Samuelsson to 1-year deals
- Some of the top prospects in Penguins system to be in town for camp
- Downie: Joining Penguins ‘made sense’