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Sullivan Takes the Heat Postgame, But this is On Sloppy Penguins (+)



Pittsburgh Penguins, Mike Sullivan

Words. The descriptions and almost obtuse optimism inside the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room haven’t wavered. Unfortunately for the Penguins’ playoff hopes, neither have the results. Losses are piling up, and the Penguins wasted one of their three games-in-hand on the Washington Capitals Saturday.

Actions aren’t following words, and the Penguins submitted another sloppy, mistake-filled game as the Connor Bedard-lottery-bound San Jose Sharks buried a handful of Penguins mistakes in a 6-4 win at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins repeat, they “just have to …”

Just have to play tighter, just have to pay attention to their details, and just have to play their game.

It wasn’t good enough after a Thursday SO loss to the Washington Capitals.

It was a country mile from good enough, losing to the hapless, illness-plagued, playing on back-to-back nights Sharks. The Penguins have won only five of their last 17 games (5-7-5), and few of those games, wins or losses, have been well-played.

“Well, it’s frustrating when we beat ourselves because we don’t manage the puck appropriately in the critical areas of the rink,” coach Mike Sullivan said. “And when you look at some of the goals they scored tonight, it was a direct result of that.”

After talking with team leaders in the locker room Saturday, it became clear they are aware of their tenuous playoff position. They remain one point behind Washington for the first wild card but wasted one of their three games in hand. They are two points ahead of the Buffalo Sabres but have now played one more game than Buffalo (Buffalo played a late game Saturday vs. Minnesota).

In other words, their playoff position is hanging by a thread.

So, why didn’t they … Why haven’t they given a better effort?

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