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Penguins Room: ‘Don’t Care if My Arm is Falling Off’; Opportunities Missed



Sidney Crosby

This time, things were different for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This time, they were the team that dominated play. That launched a steady stream of pucks at the opposing goalie. That had the better of almost every statistic of consequence.

“There was a lot to like about our overall team game,” coach Mike Sullivan said.

Just about everything except the result, which might have been the only thing that didn’t change from two nights earlier.

Ottawa defeated the Penguins, 2-1, at PPG Paints Arena, and while the game didn’t look much like the Penguins’ 6-0 loss to the New York Rangers Saturday night at Madison Square Garden, the bottom line was the same.

And this time, the defeat — the Penguins’ fourth in a row, all in regulation — bumped them out of the Eastern Conference playoff field.

Senators goalie Dylan Ferguson, who is no better than fourth on the corporate depth chart, stopped 48 of the 49 shots the Penguins threw at him. This was just his second career appearance in an NHL game so, not surprisingly, the Penguins didn’t know much about him.

“Not a lot,” Sidney Crosby said. “We did a pre-scout and stuff, but hadn’t played him before.”

Although it took 47 shots for the Penguins to get a puck past Ferguson, Crosby believed that a second one might follow in fairly short order.

“The way we were playing, it felt that way,” he said. “It felt like once we got one, there’d be more to come, hopefully. We got a big one there, but unfortunately, they come right back and get one.”

Pulling out of their skid in the next few days won’t be easy, because the Penguins have to play at Colorado Wednesday and in Dallas the following night. Keeping a positive mindset will be imperative if the Penguins are to have any hope of taking a point or two out of either game.

“We just have to go a game at a time,” Crosby said. “It’s tough on a night like this, when you do a lot of good things and don’t get rewarded.”

Bryan Rust

Bryan Rust was in obvious pain.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were killing a penalty with little more than two minutes to go in a tied game when Rust blocked a Jake Sanderson shot with his hand.

Although he clearly was hurting, he tried to clear the puck out of the defensive end, but was unable to get anything on the attempt. The Senators gained possession and, a few seconds later, Drake Batherson was putting the game-winning goal behind Tristan Jarry.

And the way that sequence played out seemed to hurt Rust even more than the shot had.

“I don’t care if my arm is falling off,” he said. “I’ve got to get the puck out (of the zone) and down the ice.”

Rust seemed to consider himself to be more culpable than any of his teammates or coaches did — “He’s harder on himself than any of the rest of us,” Sullivan said — and the fact is that he played a solid game.

He recorded four hits and blocked at least one other shot, in addition to accounting for a team-high six of the Penguins’ 49 shots,

“We had a lot of chances,” Rust said. “I thought we were making a lot of plays. We just didn’t put it in the back of the net enough.”

Tristan Jarry

Tristan Jarry had a solid bounce-back game, stopping 19 of 21 shots after being pulled in New York two nights earlier, but couldn’t prevent Batherson from scoring a close-range game-winner during a power play at 17:51 of the third period.

“(Rust) made a great block and they’re able to open us up a little after that,” Jarry said. “It’s tough. (Rust) is hurting a little bit and they’re able to work it around him. They’re able to kind of spread us out from there and they’re able to get a good tip from right in front of the net.”

The puck, it should be noted, did not enter the net directly.

“It kind of went off both posts and then hit me in the back of the skate and went in,” Jarry said. “It’s unfortunate.”

Painful — and costly — as the outcome was, Jarry was one of many players encouraged by the Pittsburgh Penguins’ overall performance.

“It’s a good start,” he said. “It’s a good 60 minutes for us.”