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Penguins Room: Sullen Sullivan Explains Changes; Graves Argues Calls



Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan

SEATTLE — It is not the first time this season that the Pittsburgh Penguins felt they outplayed their opponent but failed to score enough goals.

The Seattle Kraken beat the Penguins 2-0 Thursday at the Climate Pledge Arena. The Penguins were outshooting Seattle 29-16 after two periods, but trailed 1-0. According to, the Penguins more than doubled up Seattle on the number of high-danger chances (11-5) but still lost.

Must Read: Penguins Report Card, Bad Luck, Bad Power Play, Sullivan Makes Changes

Coach Mike Sullivan made significant changes throughout the game. Sullivan put his lines in a blender at the beginning of the third period. He shuffled the wingers in the top nine, dropping Reilly Smith to the third line while elevating Jesse Puljujarvi to the Evgeni Malkin line and Drew O’Connor to the top line with Sidney Crosby.

The lines changed again later in the third period as Sullivan shortened the bench in an effort to tie the game.

The results weren’t great, as Seattle had more offensive zone time than the Penguins in the final period.

Sullivan also made another power play change. The Penguins were 0-for-3, but on the third opportunity, the coach put Jeff Carter on the top unit for what might have been the first time this season.

“Well, (Carter) is a big body. We were trying to get someone at the net front to see if we couldn’t simplify,” said Sullivan. “See if we’d shot the puck. See if we could create a rebound off the spray if the opportunities presented themselves.”

Sullivan’s body language probably spoke louder.


Ryan Graves

Penguins defenseman Ryan Graves was whistled for a pair of minor penalties, the second of which Seattle converted for the second goal.

Both calls were close and could have gone the other way. Graves argued the calls on the ice but explained to Pittsburgh Hockey Now why the calls were improper, at least as much as he could without getting fined.

The second call was even more surprising as Graves hit Kailer Yamamoto in the corner. Without the benefit of replays or explanations from referees, it did look like a clean hit that was called for roughing.

“It was not a hard hit. He’s fine,” Graves said. “Just rubbing him out and he falls. Given the time of the game, I don’t think it was the right play, but It is what it is.”


Marcus Pettersson

When you want to know what went down in blunt terms, you ask Pettersson. The Penguins defenseman exposed the Penguins’ biggest problems on Thursday. Despite Sullivan’s disagreement, Pettersson steered into the problems.

“We fought hard, and we felt like we were desperate and hungry on pucks,” Pettersson said. “We won a lot of pucks back. (We needed to) create some more traffic, and maybe find some different avenues to the net. … That’s disappointing.”