There’s a little something wrong with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Before you join the Chicken Littles and insistent nattering nabobs of negativity who revel when things go wrong, the Penguins nearly pulled off a third comeback against perhaps the best team in the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning. However, the Penguins were never dialed in, and Tampa Bay’s Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov scored the empty netter for a 4-2 Tampa Bay win at Amelia Arena on Thursday night.
At least the Penguins power play established zone time and got shots on goal, on Thursday night? Though the power play was 0-for-5 and has been blanked in its last 11 chances. However, the team failed to score with a five-on-three, while trailing by a goal late in the third period.
“We’ve got to be better, we’ve got to execute, we’ve got to make better decisions,” head coach Mike Sullivan said one day after the Penguins extensively practiced the power play. “We’ve got to shoot the puck when we’ve got the opportunity. I thought we got some good looks, five-on-four.”
Also, Tampa Bay is pretty good. Their speed pushed the depleted Penguins lineup and opened the game. The tight, gritty defensive effort which has defined the Penguins season was absent, and Tampa Bay feasted on odd-man rushes.
The Penguins weren’t sharp, and it showed on both execution and adjustments. And their execution of the adjustments.