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Penguins Room: (Reirden) ‘Really Upset,’ Pens Frustration Bubbling



Pittsburgh Penguins, Bryan Rust, Penguins power play struggles

PHILADELPHIA — A new day and a new chance with a new power play configuration. Yet it was the same undesirable result as the Pittsburgh Penguins power play was powerless in a 2-1 OT loss to the Philadelphia Flyers Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

Players couldn’t help but focus on the power play, which was 0-for-3 with only one shot but several high-grade chances against. The Flyers had a better time shorthanded than did the Penguins power play.

The team has only seven power plays goals this season and has now gone 11 games without lighting the lamp. The Penguins haven’t scored a power-play goal since Nov. 11 against the Buffalo Sabres.

Perhaps Sidney Crosby will take some comfort from the numerology–they’ve gone 11 games since 11-11 since the man-advantage marker.

The Penguins’ bright spot was goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who stopped 31 of 33 shots but was occasionally spectacular.

In addition to the power play struggles, the team also needed about 10 minutes for their first shot in the third period despite possessing the puck in the offensive zone for extended stretches.

Penguins’ winger Bryan Rust spoke with some anger. Erik Karlsson seemed to speak with a certain disbelief and frustration.

Penguins Locker Room

Bryan Rust:

Rust has faced the media without hesitation for weeks on end as the Penguins have treaded water, never getting too far ahead of a .500 record as losses have followed wins and poor performances have erased good feelings.

But oh, that power play.

Rust also indicated that associate coach Todd Reirden, who is the power play coordinator, is not a happy camper, either.

“I’ve been asked that question a lot recently. And if I had a really good answer for you, I would give you a really good answer,” Rust said. “I know everybody who’s on the unit has been thinking about the unit. The coach on that unit is really upset with how things are going, and we’re trying our best to get it going, and things aren’t going. So we’ve got to keep working on that.”


Erik Karlsson

The Penguins’ top defenseman has been part of the power-play struggle since the start of the season. Despite the other problems, Karlsson is front and center on the power play.

Monday night was an especially difficult night, giving up breakaways and more chances against.

“We give teams chances from plays that we make — mistakes that we make,” Karlsson said. “They do the same, and we’re going to get those regardless of what we do. You know, we have to find a way to create our own chances. And with the team that we have here, we should be able to do that. Throughout the course of the season so far, we have not.”


Mike Sullivan

The raw video might provide some with a sense of coach Mike Sullivan’s status. There are nights when the coach is seething. There are other nights when he’s irritated, and Monday night was a different mindset.

Sullivan seemed ready to cleanse the loss and any talk of it. My perception was that Sullivan was more exasperated than anything. The coaches were prodding the team to shoot the puck more, especially in the third period.

In the Penguins report card, PHN detailed Sullivan’s lengthy answer about the necessity of taking more shots.

Sullivan’s semi-smirk when asked about the long stretch of puck possession without a shot in the third period probably offered the best window into the coach’s state.