Time Running Out for Penguins to Respond to Senators

The Penguins suddenly have a lot to sort out as they attempt to respond to another disappointing playoff loss.



After watching the Senators get all the bounces in Game 3, the Penguins are once again in bounce-back mode as they ready for Game 4 on Friday night and Game 5 on Sunday afternoon of what has become an increasingly hard-to-figure Eastern Conference Final.

Wednesday night in Ottawa clearly wasn’t the Penguins’ night.

Nick Bonino blocks a shot, the puck ends up in the Penguins’ net.

Ian Cole blocks a shot, the puck ends up in the Penguins’ net.

Cole blocks another shot, the puck ends up in the Penguins’ net.

Anyone else sensing a trend?

It ended up 5-1 Senators, and in the estimation of Chris Kunitz the Penguins were as culpable as they were unlucky.

“I think you work for your bounces in hockey,” Kunitz maintained.

Fair enough; it wasn’t the Penguins’ finest hour from the goal out in terms of what they were doing around all those bounces and amid all that Ottawa puck luck.

But nor was this the blowout the final score suggested.

“We had a fair amount of scoring chances,” head coach Mike Sullivan insisted.

At the other end, “It wasn’t like we gave up a lot of scoring chances; we didn’t,” Sullivan continued. “But they all seemed to go in the net.

In summation, “I think the score is not an indication of how the whole game played out,” Sullivan concluded. “It’s not like we didn’t do anything right out there.”

The Senators nonetheless lead the series, two games to one.

And the Penguins suddenly have a lot to sort out as they attempt to respond as they had following a just-as-disappointing 5-2 loss in Game 6 against Washington.

The Pens had emerged from Games 1 and 2 against Ottawa believing they had the Senators figured out.

But the head-scratching developments in Game 3 included:
 

  • The previously trap-obsessed Sens shifting into attack mode in terms of how often they pressured with at least two men on the forecheck and how often they carried the puck into the Penguins’ end rather than dump it in, sit back and wait/hope for a mistake and transition opportunity. It’s a more familiar style in terms of what the Pens have been confronting throughout the postseason but it’s also one that threatens a defensive corps that continues to spring leaks.
     
  • The Penguins, despite the opportunities referenced by Sullivan, scoring just one goal for the third time in three games. Either the shots haven’t been as sharp or the Pens have yet to benefit from the meltdowns suffered and soft goals surrendered by Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby that helped nudge the Pens past Columbus and Washington.
     
  • The Marc-Andre Fleury bubble (temporarily, at least) bursting. Fleury wasn’t solely responsible for the quick 4-0 hole the Penguins fell into but nor should he be exonerated for his role in Game 3 getting out of hand in a hurry. And Matt Murray was razor-sharp in relief, which at least had Mike Milbury and Jeremy Roenick talking goaltending controversy on TV.
     
  • Sullivan bemoaning the lack of “readiness” and “hunger” and “conviction” evident in a team that has for the most part oozed intangibles and character dating back to last season’s run to the Stanley Cup.
     

For the Penguins, that’s out of character.

As a result, their position in this series is uncomfortable.

“You have to have the ability to respond,” Sullivan maintained. “There’s no doubt in my mind this group of players will.”

There’s no reason to suggest the Penguins won’t or the Penguins can’t.

But eventually, they’re going to have to become proactive.

As critical as the ability to respond can be, you only get so many chances.
 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

2017 Pittsburgher of the Year: Kelly Frey

No one would blame the veteran WTAE anchor if she took time off while undergoing intensive breast cancer treatment. Instead, she chose to use humor and grace to educate and inspire others, all while in the public eye.
Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

Green Medicine: The Business of Medical Marijuana

For many, medical marijuana is a panacea capable of alleviating a wide range of symptoms. As Pennsylvania begins allowing the drug’s medical use, patients are relieved — and business is booming.
Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

Restaurant Review: Casbah Still is Rocking

More than 20 years into its run, Casbah remains one of Pittsburgh’s most relevant restaurants.
First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

First There Was Hot Yoga. Then There Was Goat Yoga

Believe it or not, yogis have been practicing with goats in the Unites States for more than a year.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

On the Blogs


Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Watch: The Terrible Towel and 45 Years of Steelers Nation

Perspectives from Franco Harris to Joe Manganiello.

Comments


All the foodie news that's fit to blog
Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

Madeline Bakery and Bistro to Open in Wilkinsburg

The French-inspired bakery will feature croissants, cookies, bread and more.

Comments


Not just good stuff. Great stuff.
Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Best of the ‘Burgh Gift Guide for 2017

Here are some of our favorite ‘Burgh-inspired gifts for him, her, kids, foodies and more.

Comments


Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

Enjoy a Relaxing Evening of Wanton Destruction at Break Room

The Irwin business offers the chance to smash inanimate objections for a little "therapeutic demolition."

Comments


Mike Prisuta's Sports Section

A weekly look at the games people are playing and the people who are playing them.
Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Steelers Can't Ease Their Patriots Pain Until January

Much as they’d like to, the Steelers won’t be able to exorcise the ghosts of AFC Championship Games Past, even with a win on Sunday.

Comments


The movies that are playing in Pittsburgh –– and, more importantly, whether or not they're worth your time.
Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Movie Review — Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A review of "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," the latest entry in the massive franchise.

Comments


Everything you need to know about getting married in Pittsburgh today.
New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

New Weddings Website Aims for Equality

A local wedding photographer has created a business to connect same-sex couples with LGBTQ-friendly vendors.

Comments


Weekly inspiration for your home from the editors of Pittsburgh Magazine
It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

It’s Back! ‘Restored by the Fords’ Gets Premiere Date

The new season of the home improvement show featuring Pittsburgh siblings Leanne and Steve Ford debuts on HGTV in January.

Comments