PITTSBURGH — Matt Murray sat erect, staring straight ahead as the media contingent filed out of the locker room past his stall. His large eyes didn’t blink. His leg pads were also upright, still buckled onto the skinny 24-year-old netminder.
“It stings for sure,” he said softly as part of his short media scrum.
Matt Cullen was also one of the few Penguins in the room who spoke to the media after the Penguins whiffed against Philadelphia, again. Just like the Stadium Series game three weeks ago, the Penguins blew a lead in the final seconds then lost in overtime.
The Penguins have lost 10 overtime games this season and won only six.
“We had 20 seconds left. We right there. It’s just…I don’t know. We’ve just got to finish it,” said Matt Cullen. “We’ve got to find a way to keep our foot on the gas. Not give them some life.”
Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson also spoke to the media. His soft voice is never one to echo through the locker room, but he was sullen, too.
“After we scored that goal, maybe we needed to attack a little bit more; try to get that second goal,” Pettersson said. “Maybe we sat back a little too much too early.”
The Penguins were outshot 19-9 and outchanced 9-6 in the third period. But it was being so close, again which hurt so much.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan generally speaks for five to seven minutes. He spoke short and blunt sentences following the loss, too. His total media scrum was less than two and a half minutes.
“Well, we’ve closed out a fair amount of them. But some we haven’t. So…we’re obviously disappointed tonight we didn’t close it out. We had a pretty good chance to do it,” Sullivan said. “We didn’t get it done.”
The Penguins snatched defeat from the jaws of victory by failing to skate 200 feet one more time. They have no one to blame but themselves.
“They had a 4-on-2 in the last couple seconds. They got one…and it stings for sure.”
See the Penguins break down on the tying goal here. We broke it down step-by-step.
In a rare moment, captain Sidney Crosby did not speak to the media following the loss. He undoubtedly was as upset as Twitter. Since he speaks after nearly every game, good and bad, he gets a pass on this, too.
But the mood and the weight of the loss was dark. The Penguins had been on a roll until 36 hours over the weekend. Don’t underestimate the healing power of a week-long road trip, either. The Penguins don’t have another home game for 11 days.
Adversity has been a constant companion for this team. Now that Letang is close to returning, it is Evgeni Malkin’s turn to miss weeks. Perhaps that loss stings more than ceding one point to the Flyers.
The Penguins were playing too well to get too distracted. The veteran core, at least the healthy ones, know how to move forward. Or at least they should know.
Perhaps somewhere between Dallas, Nashville and New York City, the Penguins will add Kris Letang for a morale boost. Perhaps they’ll get a bounce which reignites them. Perhaps the boys will have a few beers and blow off some steam. I’ve heard Nashville is good for such things.
After the long faces Sunday night, they certainly need it.