Penguins Shifting Focus To Game 4

Down 2-1, the Penguins are putting the Game 3 dramatics behind them

Shelby Cassesse
May 02, 2018 - 2:22 pm
Mike Sullivan wants the team to focus on Game 4.

© Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The FAN) - The Penguins are doing their best to have a short memory as it pertains to the spectacle that was Game 3 Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. 

As the hockey world awaits the ruling on Tom Wilson's NHL Player Safety hearing for his hit on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the team is moving on. 

"I don't think our team even focuses on it, quite honestly," he said. "We're focused on playing hockey. That's the most important aspect of the game. We're going to do our job, and that's control what we can. We're going to try to learn from each experience, as I said. We're going watch some film. We broke down the game. We're trying to look at areas where we can improve and get better, and then we're going to look at that next opportunity and that's Game 4." 

Following Tuesday's 4-3 loss, Sullivan announced Aston-Reese would need surgery on a broken jaw and admitted he thought Wilson's hit was high, but he held back any opinion Wednesday after optional skate on what the league should do. 

"It doesn't matter what I think," he said. "As I said, we're not focused on that. We're trying to focus our attention on our game and how we can improve and put ourselves in the best opportunity and give ourselves the best chance to win games." 

Rarely vocal to the media about instances such as this one, Sidney Crosby went as far to say "it wasn't a great hit," but wouldn't give any recommendations as far as a ruling. 

"It's my job to play," he said. "I'm going to focus on playing and let everyone else whose job it is to worry about those hits take care of that, but I'm focused on playing."

Penguins defenseman Kris Letang appeared to be involved in some back-and-forth with Wilson from the benches following the hit, and criticized him for appearing to laugh as Aston-Reese made his way to the locker room.

"The league hires people to do that job where we're just out there to play hockey, try to win games," he said. "At the end of the day, the safety part is out of our hands and hopefully they hire the right people to make those decisions and keep the players safe."

Although Wilson has emerged as the main narrative of Game 3, the Penguins have plenty to focus on as it pertains to the remainder of the series. They're trailing the Capitals in a series for the first time since Washington won Game 1 in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 

Conor Sheary said he didn’t want to talk about Wilson’s hearing and would much rather focus on eradicating their 2-1 series deficit.

"These are tough questions to answer," he said. "I think it's out of our hands. As players, you just play the game and if something out of the rules happens the league looks at that and takes care of it. We're not going to worry about what they're going to do or how they're going to handle it. We're just going to come out for Game 4 ready to play."

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