Slow Start Dooms Pens Again

Issues in first period continue in Washington

Jeff Hathhorn
April 29, 2018 - 8:41 pm
Alexander Ovechkin

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the fourth straight game the Pens fell behind early and now in half of them, went on to lose.  Caps scored the first three goals on Sunday afternoon and it’s something they must change starting Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

“They came out flying and we didn’t have an answer for it,” said goalie Matt Murray.

“They came with a push and I don’t think physically we matched there compete,” said defenseman Kris Letang.  “You saw in the second and third period we had our way against them.  We just have to be ready from the start next game.”

“We need to have a better start,” said head coach Mike Sullivan.  “We knew they were going to come out hard.  We were up one-nothing after the first game and we knew they were going to come out hard, we didn’t match the urgency.  We needed to be better in the first.”

And while the Capitals have spent the post-season so far blowing two-goal leads, the Pens couldn’t come back this time.

“Our first period was probably one of the worst in this playoff,” said forward Patric Hornqvist.  “Our second and third were really good.  It’s a 1-1 series.  We know it’s going to be a long series.  Its two good teams going after it.  Learn from it and make sure we have a better start.”

“I think we were a little late making decisions and maybe a little too loose,” said forward Riley Sheahan.  “Not winning as many puck battles as we should have.  Just little things that are easily fixable that we can change once game three comes.”

A potential return of Evgeni Malkin on Tuesday could help, but the trend must stop.