11 of the Penguins' worst losses in the Sidney Crosby era
For a few minutes, all Sidney Crosby could do was shake his head and express his embarrassment.
Eventually, he tried to look forward.
"You've got to evaluate it," Crosby said from a quiet visiting locker room at the United Center in Chicago on Thursday night. "Whether you win or lose, you've got to be honest about your game. It hasn't been good enough. It's a tough lesson, but we've got to take something from it. Hopefully this is something that is a wake-up call for us."
Crosby was referring to a 10-1 loss that just concluded moments before, sending the Penguins to an 0-1-1 start to the season. The Blackhawks blitzed the Penguins with four goals in a three-minute span of the first period and rolled from there.
By goals allowed and margin of defeat, it was the worst loss of the Crosby era of Penguins hockey, which began in 2005.
Crosby has burnished his reputation as hockey's ultimate winner in the last two years by claiming the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP in back-to-back seasons and adding a World Cup title and MVP honors from that tournament to his resume.
But that doesn't mean he hasn't suffered his share of memorable lopsided losses, too. Here's a look at a few of them.
Senators 6, Penguins 3
April 11, 2007
The first playoff game in the career of a 19-year-old Crosby, 20-year-old Evgeni Malkin and 18-year-old Jordan Staal was a shock to the system. Andrej Meszaros and Chris Kelly scored in the first seven minutes and Ottawa went up 6-1 before a couple of goals in garbage time. "They beat us in every aspect of the game," coach Michel Therrien said. "We can't be worse than that."
Flyers 8, Penguins 2
Dec. 11, 2007
Joffrey Lupul had three goals and three assists and Plum's R.J. Umberger also recorded a hat trick as the Flyers gave a sound thrashing to their intrastate rivals. The game is most remembered, however, at least by Penguins fans, for the beating 41-year-old Gary Roberts gave 23-year-old Ben Eager in a third-period fight.
Red Wings 5, Penguins 0
June 6, 2009
In the pivotal fifth game of the Stanley Cup Final, the Red Wings scored three power-play goals, Pavel Datsyuk returned from injury to record two assists and Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after giving up five goals on 21 shots. The game turned out to be the ultimate wake-up call for the Penguins, though, who won the next two games to claim the franchise's third Stanley Cup.
Islanders 9, Penguins 3
Feb. 11, 2011
Michael Grabner and Matt Moulson had two goals apiece as the Islanders cruised to a decisive victory, but those were merely footnotes on this night. Trevor Gillies gave Eric Tangradi a concussion with a vicious elbow, winger Micheal Haley fought Penguins goalie Brent Johnson and 15 fighting majors, 21 game misconducts and 346 penalty minutes were handed out in this unforgettable mess of a brawl game. Afterwards, owner Mario Lemieux issued a scathing statement, criticizing the state of the NHL.
Lightning 8, Penguins 2
April 23, 2011
Playing without Crosby and Malkin due to injury, the Penguins managed to win three of the first four games of a first-round playoff series with Tampa Bay anyway. The tide turned with a Game 5 blowout. Simon Gagne, Pavel Kubina and Steven Samkos had two goals apiece.
Flyers 8, Penguins 4
April 15, 2012
In a first-round playoff series full of ugly performances by the Penguins, this might have been the worst. Daniel Briere scored twice as the Flyers jumped out to a 4-2 first-period lead. Fleury was pulled after giving up six goals on 28 shots, and Crosby fought Claude Giroux.
Bruins 6, Penguins 1
June 3, 2013
Brad Marchand scored twice as the Bruins took a 4-1 first-period lead and cruised to victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals. It was a series full of frustrating losses for the Penguins, but this was the only one that wasn't close.
Devils 4, Penguins 0
Nov. 14, 2015
Malkin's frank assessment of his team's performance stands out from this brutal loss that was the beginning of the end of the Mike Johnston coaching era for the Penguins. "We're not playing right," Malkin said. "We're not working hard. I know it's tough right now. We're mad at each other. We need to stop, look in the mirror and start working. We're not working."
Capitals 7, Penguins 1
Nov. 16, 2016
Nicklas Backstrom had a five-point night and Matt Murray was knocked from the game in the first period after Malkin's stick accidentally clocked him in the head. "These games are humbling," coach Mike Sullivan said. "We were embarrassed out there tonight. All of us."
Capitals 5, Penguins 2
May 8, 2017
Andre Burakovsky scored a pair of goals and Washington built a 5-0 lead before the Penguins scored two seemingly meaningless goals late in the third period in Game 6 of a second-round playoff series. As it turns out, they weren't meaningless. They set the tone for a decisive 2-0 Penguins victory in Game 7 two days later.
Senators 5, Penguins 1
May 17, 2017
The Senators scored four goals in 13 minutes to show the Penguins they meant business in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals. The game is memorable because it was Fleury's last appearance for the Penguins. He gave up four goals on nine shots before giving way to Murray for good.
Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at @BombulieTrib.