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Penguins

Sidney Crosby breaks down the Penguins' four-game losing streak

Jonathan Bombulie
| Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, 5:33 a.m.
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby tries to get something going from below the goal against the Devils Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.
Sean Stipp | Tribune-Review
The Penguins’ Sidney Crosby tries to get something going from below the goal against the Devils Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at PPG Paints Arena.

When the final horn sounded and a 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils was in the books Monday night, the Penguins had reached peak levels of inconsistency.

At the end of last month, they went on an undefeated road trip through Canada, winning four games by a combined score of 23-6.

Since they’ve been home, their fortunes have turned 180 degrees. They’ve dropped four in a row by a combined score of 19-6.

On a micro level, there are a few threads running through the four consecutive losses. Poor puck management has led to an inordinate number of odd-man rushes against. The power play has sputtered. Goalie Matt Murray’s performance has been just as uneven as his teammates.

In the big picture, captain Sidney Crosby sees the four losses very differently.

— The skid started with a 6-3 home loss to the Islanders. The Penguins built a 29-13 advantage in scoring chances, but the Islanders capitalized ruthlessly on the opportunities they had.

“We deserved way better and we didn’t get the result we wanted,” Crosby said.

— The Penguins then dropped the back end of a home-and-home with the Islanders by losing 3-2 in overtime. If not for a shorthanded goal by Josh Bailey or a diving poke-check by Thomas Greiss on a Crosby breakaway in overtime, the result could have been different.

“It’s a pretty even game. It comes down the details and we didn’t execute,” Crosby said.

— The losing streak reached three when the Penguins were routed 5-0 by the Maple Leafs on Saturday night at home. Crosby blamed his team’s effort for this one.

“We didn’t give ourselves much of a chance,” he said.

— Finally, the Penguins lost 5-1 to the Devils on Monday night. They fell behind 2-1 in the first period and chased their tails the rest of the night.

“It’s really an example of how it’s going for us right now,” Crosby said. “We’ve got to earn our way back into the win column. No one’s going to give it to us.”

On the surface, it sounds like the Penguins find themselves in a frustrating spot. They’re inventing new ways to lose every night.

Crosby said that’s not exactly the case. Not yet anyway.

“The frustrating part comes when you don’t give yourself a chance to win,” Crosby said. “There’s good teams in this league. You can play well and still not win. The frustration comes probably when you don’t give yourself a chance and you beat yourself a bit. (The Toronto loss) was one of those.

“Tonight, we can still do some better things, but thinking about those games now isn’t going to get us those points. We’ve got to find a way to get one win and focus on that.”

Follow the Pittsburgh Penguins all season long.

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at jbombulie@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.

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