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DENIAL OF THE PENGUINS

WASHINGTON — Aside from D BROOKS ORPIK, who flat-out admitted he is “concerned” about the Penguins after another disappointing loss, their third in a row, words from the visiting dressing room at Verizon Center were mostly positive. Again.

C SIDNEY CROSBY…

= On the club’s play against Washington: “I think guys battled hard and created some chances. I think as the game went on it became more intense. They came hard in the third and we stuck with things. I would have been nice to get two points, but we did a lot of good things.”

RW BILL GUERIN…

= On the club’s play against Washington: “I thought we played well. We were ready to play. We did  a lot of good things, more than we’ve been doing. It was a good game. … It’s one game. We’ve got to keep moving forward. If we play like this the next eight games then I’ll say we’ve come out of it. Until then we’re still working.”

D ALEX GOLIGOSKI…

= On the club’s play against Washington: “We tried to play the right way, the way we want to play and not feeding into them with turnovers and things like that. For the most part we were able to do that.”

COACH DAN BYLSMA…

= On the club’s play against Washington: “For a lot of reasons that’s the type of game we expect from our team and the way we can play. From the way we started and played the first (period), to responding when things didn’t go our way and sticking with it and getting the goal we got from Jordan Staal. It was a big play. That’s the way you need to play.”

3 STATS

12 – Combined goal differential by the Capitals and Devils in the third period against the Penguins this season

0 – Goals scored by Crosby in 11 games without C EVGENI MALKIN this season

22 – Goals scored by Malkin in 37 games without Crosby the past three seasons

THEY SAID IT

Words from the Capitals after their victory against the Penguins:

C NICKLAS BACKSTROM…

= On his club’s third-period and shootout-rally: “This is a strong sign we have in our team. We never give up and that’s something good. Even if they score at the end there and then two in a shootout we know we can still win it. that’s a big thing for us.”

LW ALEX OVECHKIN…

= On his club’s heart: “We just keep going and keep playing hockey. It doesn’t matter what happens, we just want to win. I don’t think we played our best game. I don’t think our best players, our first two lines played great. We scored two goals, but still it wasn’t our game.”

COLD CAPPER

Readers of the blog know that I’ve often labeled Orpik as the Penguins’ conscience. Crosby is their heartbeat. Malkin is their blood. Fleury is their skin. Orpik, though, is the one player on the club who knows when to say what is needed.

It’s my opinion that every play on the team should pay close attention my first words with him after this loss.

RR: Is there any good that come out of starting the game so well and then rallying when you got down?

BO: Oh, sheesh. You know what, Rob – maybe I’m in the minority here, (but) I’m getting tired that we worked hard and maybe we deserved better. We’re not winning hockey games and that’s what it comes down to. It’s not… uh, I don’t know.

Since a 4-0-0 run out of the Olympic break the Penguins are 2-3-3. They’ve lost leads in four of these recent games. They have been held to less than three goals in four. They are 4-for-28 on the power play.

They are 32-28-7 since Nov. 1. Over the course of an 82-game regular season that level of success equates to about 87 points.

–BY ROB ROSSI (3/24/10)

rrossi@tribweb.com or hockeyday@tribweb.com

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Author: Rob Rossi

Rob Rossi is the lead sports columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has been called many names, but “Rossi” is the one to which he most often responds. He joined the Trib in November 2002 and was promoted to the columnist role in July 2014. Previously, he had covered the NHL’s Penguins (2006-14) and MLB’s Pirates (2006), while also working on beats associated with the NFL’s Steelers (2005-06) and the NCAA’s Pitt (2004-06). He has won national and local awards for his coverage of youth concussions and athletes’ charities. Also, he is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association executive committee and the Pittsburgh chapter chair. Raised in Crafton and Green Tree and a graduate of West Virginia University, he has covered a Super Bowl, All-Star Games in baseball and hockey, the NCAA basketball tournament and over 100 Stanley Cup playoff games, including the Cup Final twice. Oh, and his sports reporting has led him to brief chats with Mick Jagger and Bruce Springsteen; so that’s pretty cool. He is a regular contributor on TV with WPXI, Root Sports Pittsburgh and TSN. Also, he is the authorized biographer of Penguins star Evgeni Malkin.

 
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