Prisuta: Penguins exude confidence
TribLIVE Sports Videos
WASHINGTON — The Penguins didn't play a perfect game against the Capitals in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, but they played well enough to win.
That they lost, 3-2, on Saturday night at the Verizon Center is a detail they're aware of but not tempted to over-analyze.
The start was precisely what the Penguins were after, and will be again tonight in Game 2.
The goaltending, despite Marc-Andre Fleury's understandable disappointment over the ones that got away, was exactly what the Penguins needed when they temporarily lost their game during a second-period lull.
And there were opportunities aplenty at the other end throughout that resulted in shots fired at Caps rookie Simeon Varlamov and shots that could have and should have been.
Practice on Sunday, thus, was loose and fast.
The mood in the room was upbeat, no moaning or complaining or scratching of heads.
And the confidence of the players and coaches remained in tact, despite the one-game deficit they found themselves forced to confront.
"There are times when you lose and you feel like, 'Geez, we gotta go back and make some huge adjustments here,'" captain Sidney Crosby said. "That's not the case with the last game. We felt like we did some really good things, like we only got away from our game for a little bit in the second period.
"If we look at anything, we want to make sure our power play is better. But for the most part, I thought we did a lot of good things."
The power play failing again — that's four straight games without a goal — is becoming such a regular occurrence that it might be best to begin perceiving it as something the Penguins are simply going to have to work around.
If the Steelers could win a Super Bowl with their offensive line being what it was -- and they did — there's no reason the Penguins can't survive a second-round series despite a power play that has come to defy description in its impotence.
If the Penguins continue to play as well as they did 5-on-5 throughout most of Game 1, they'll win the series provided their oh-fer power play can avoid getting scored upon.
The other emphasis during Sunday's practice involved opponents' drives into the Penguins' end.
The Caps scored goals on two such occasions in Game 1.
The problem wasn't a failure to hustle back on the Pens' part.
The problem was making sure the Caps were properly accounted for in the defensive end.
That's a tweak, not cause for attempting to reinvent the back-checking wheel.
Other than that, the Pens will look for more of the same, attempt to get a few more shots on net and hope Varlamov doesn't get as lucky the next time Crosby's facing an open cage.
"If we play that type of hockey for seven games, we'll be satisfied with the result," forward Max Talbot said.
Defenseman Brooks Orpik was even more direct.
"We're confident if we keep playing the same way we'll win this series," Orpik said. "I wouldn't say it's 100 percent, but it's a pretty good chance."
Good enough that it's a chance these Penguins are more than willing to take.
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.
- Penguins need trade-deadline acquisitions to bring toughness
- Penguins notebook: Team exercising caution with Ehrhoff’s return from concussion
- Starkey: Penguins not mortgaging future
- Penguins GM Rutherford not counting on Dupuis’ return
- Penguins acquire defensemen Lovejoy, Cole in deadline deals
- Rangers up ante in Metropolitan Division with trade acquisitions
- Penguins notebook: ‘Skill practice’ part of optional workout
- Penguins eye move for former center Staal
- Penguins’ Kunitz makes a dream come true
- Crosby fights, Penguins lose to Blue Jackets
- Penguins notebook: Pouliot dazzles in victory over Blue Jackets