NEW YORK – Little can be extracted from the Penguins’ 5-0 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
Better yet, little should be extracted from the Penguins’ 5-0 loss to the Rangers on Tuesday at Madison Square Garden.
This was a blip.
Only a blip.
Nothing to freak out over.
“Definitely not the start you want to have,” goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury said of falling behind 3-0 in the first period. “I think we all believe with the guys that we have here that we can make a run for it and come back.”
One of the more ridiculous suggestions I heard tonight had to do with Rangers forward Tanner Glass sweeping away a possible Penguins goal and what would have happened had he not done that.
Like the Penguins would have immediately turned it around and put forth a season-best performance.
They didn’t have it against the Rangers, and that’s OK. It was evident from the start.
It’s November. They’re human. And these things happen. When you win seven in a row – and look like the best team in the NHL doing it – there’s some slack you’re afforded.
“Whether we won however many in a row, at this point, that’s no excuse,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “We weren’t good enough.”
I liked how head coach Mike Johnston explained the Penguins’ effort – or lack of it.
Normally it might sound alarms that a head coach was questioning his team’s effort, but so did his captain. And neither was even close to wrong after this one.
“I thought they were quicker to loose pucks than we were,” Johnston said. “They had a step more in their jump. But it was also the compete and the battle on the loose pucks. You have to engage when you’re going for those pucks. I didn’t think we had the same level of intensity that we normally have had. We’ve been a great starting team. Tonight wasn’t a very good start for us.
The timing of it is questionable, to say the least, especially given their recent history with the Rangers; you would think this is a team they have a significant amount of hatred for, even if a win Tuesday wasn’t going to erase the postseason.
I asked Johnston whether he had any inclination this was coming. No way, Johnston insisted.
“No, none at all,” Johnston said. “Morning skates are fairly routine. You look at your team, you don’t always measure your team at a morning skate, but it looks like we had a lot of jump, a lot of energy. We knew the importance of the game.”
The importance of the game? The importance of a regular season game in November?
It’s not a ton. Not compared to the last time these two teams met, that’s for sure.
The most important thing the Penguins can do is forget this loss, not dissect it. By dwelling on it or thinking too much about it, they’re only going to give it more credit than it deserves.
Be GRATEFUL to each other,