The Pittsburgh Penguins are lost. The swagger and confidence are past tense and head coach Mike Sullivan said his team needs to build preparation and readiness. Kasperi Kapanen, Marcus Pettersson, and Rickard Rakell couldn’t avoid it when asked after the Penguins 5-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.
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In addition to lengthy comments about the team leaning on experience, finding confidence and resilience, Sullivan also used the kiss of death.
“I still believe in this team,” he said.
The addition of the word “still” made it much worse.
“Obviously we’ve got to make something happen because the playoffs are right around the corner and we’ve got to perform. We can’t be making these kinds of mistakes and allowing ourselves to kind of be trailing in the game a lot,” Kapanen said. “So it’s something we just got to clean up. How to do it, I’m not sure, but we just got to figure it out.”
The Pittsburgh Penguins were in the game but couldn’t beat Edmonton goalie Mike Smith on a late second-period power play, despite a handful of rebound chances. Those were the Penguins’ last great chances.
They went quietly in the third period, and a competitive 2-1 deficit became a 5-1 walk.
“I thought we had a couple of good chances tonight, but as a team, we probably got a little frustrated when the bounces didn’t go our way. That’s just something we have to work through, especially with this last game. We’ve got to keep our heads up no matter what happens in the game and just keep grinding away because we know we’re good players. You know, we have a good team. So I think at this point, we’ve just got to fight through whatever adversity that we have in the games and keep moving forward.”
Readers can read the full postgame analysis and longer answer from head coach Mike Sullivan which touched on building readiness and preparation, as well as finding resilience. The PHN+ postgame with blunt analysis is available here. New subscribers can save $10 here.