Following their 3-2 road win over the New York Islanders, the Penguins held a players-only meeting in the locker room in which there was reportedly a lot of yelling. Good. There should have been. The Penguins nearly botched a 5-minute powerplay at the end of the 3rd period by allowing the Islanders several key short-handed chances. Had they given up a goal, they would have likely lost momentum, and the game.
Why a team would be content to try and maintain a 1-goal lead while on the powerplay is beyond me. Was it a tactic employed by Coach Therrien? I doubt it. “We did not play well on the power play, especially at the end,” coach Michel Therrien said. “It comes down to us not having the right attitude, especially at the end.” So what was the attitude that was lacking? They should have played with emotion and desperation to get the insurance goal. Instead, they played a tentative, kill the clock style of play that nearly cost them the game.
While a win is always a good thing, it is even better to see that these players are expecting more out of themselves than just posting a “W”. This is especially important for a young team that could easily step into bad habits that would cost them dearly in the long run. “We got away with one” siad Darryl Sydor, “It is always better to get away with one, but if you do not learn from it, there will be a problem.” Sidney Crosby noted a need to “make sure (their) work ethic is there” in future opportunities to nail the door shut on a late power play.
So, the good news from the Penguins locker room is accountability. The team is collectively recognizing its mistakes and taking timely actions to address them and learn from them. There has to be accountability up and down the bench, and each player needs to recognize that they have to answer to each other when they don’t put forth the best effort. This is indicative of a team that is maturing and working together to address and resolve its own issues. The good news is that despite the win, the team still recognized the need to quickly address areas of the game that needed improvement. This will only yield dividends down the road.