Sullivan: Lack of Competitiveness ‘Concerning’

Penguins coach unhappy after Pittsburgh loses to last place Devils again

Josh Rowntree
January 28, 2019 - 11:10 pm
A shot by New Jersey Devils right wing Kyle Palmieri (not pictured) eludes Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Matt Murray (30) for a goal as Devils center Brian Boyle (11) looks on during the third period

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

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A visibly bothered Mike Sullivan took the podium following another baffling loss to last-place New Jersey. 

The Penguins were seemingly flat from start to finish in Monday’s 6-3 loss to the Devils, Pittsburgh’s first game in nine days.

“It is concerning,” Sullivan said. “The foundation of the game is just rooted in competitive spirit and you have to be willing to invest emotionally and, when you, that's usually when players and teams are at their best."

At the moment, it appears Pittsburgh’s rollercoaster 2018 part of the season has transitioned right into the new year. After winning eight straight into early January, the Penguins have now lost five of eight. 

“You are okay with not executing,” captain Sidney Crosby said. “It comes down to work ethic and we didn't have it tonight. We deserved what we got."

New Jersey has now outscored the Penguins 15-6 in the three meetings this season. The Devils have the League’s third-worst point total. 

"I think they’ve just outworked us,” Crosby added. “As much as you don't like saying it, it's the truth"

So effort, something that has been called into question of late, appears to be a serious matter now for a Penguins team that has let up 39 goals in its last six games. 

“Everyone can't have their best game every single night,” forward Patric Hornqvist said. “But we can control our effort, our attitude and our work ethic.”

“We didn't have it,” forward Matt Cullen added. “And there's really no reason for that.”

The desire will need to get there in a hurry, as the Penguins host the NHL’s best team, Tampa Bay, on Wednesday night in a nationally televised game at PPG Paints Arena. 

You can hear all of what Sidney Crosby had to say below.

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