Thu, 27 Feb 2020

Penguins look to bounce back at Red Wings

Field Level Media
17 Jan 2020, 18:05 GMT+10

Sidney Crosby has made an impressive comeback from sports hernia surgery but the Pittsburgh Penguins will need to start on a new winning streak on Friday.

Crosby had four points against Minnesota on Tuesday in his return to action after missing over two months. He scored the lone Pittsburgh goalin a 4-1 loss at Boston on Thursday, which snapped a four-game Penguins winning streak.

They'll play the second part of a back-to-back at Detroit.

Crosby scored 24 seconds into the game against the Bruins but the Penguins were blanked the rest of the way as Boston goaltender Jaroslav Halak made 29 saves.

"There were points where we got outplayed," Crosby said in his postgame press conference. "We definitely had some chances and could have gotten back in the game. Look at our power play, and zone time in general they controlled more. We just weren't good enough tonight."

Pittsburgh, the second-place team in the Metropolitan Division, had scored 19 goals during the winning streak. It was unable to put consistent pressure on the Bruins after Crosby's goal.

"If we play like we did tonight, we're not going to win many hockey games, no matter who we play against," Penguins forward Patric Hornqvist told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. "We have to be more hungry."

The Red Wings have been pounded in their last two games. Buffalo defeated them 5-1 on Sunday and the New York Islanders racked up a season high in goals in an 8-2 thrashing on Tuesday.

The Wings' No. 1 goaltender, Jonathan Bernier, is sidelined at least through the All-Star break with a lower-body injury. Veteran Jimmy Howard was pulled in the Islanders debacle after giving up three goals in less than eight minutes. Backup Calvin Pickard allowed five more goals.

"I talked to a couple of our veteran players on the ice today and asked them, 'What did you think of the other night?' And their thought was it certainly wasn't what the score indicated," coach Jeff Blashill told the team's website on Thursday. "We have to be a pretty simple team. We have to get pucks behind, we have to play in the O-zone. We did that to a degree. The score gets out of hand, so sometimes that stuff gets skewed, but even the first period we did it, and we did it against Buffalo."

Blashill has kept his job even though the Wings have the league's worst team. He breaks down the team's performance regularly with GM Steve Yzerman.

"We talk about how our team's playing," Blashill said. "Some of that's making sure that as a team, that we're getting better in certain areas that are going to help us long-term. Certainly we look at that as a coaching staff and as the management group, what's going to help us long-term here, whether it's individual players or how we play or the areas we have to get better at. Each guy's got to get better at different things. I ask his advice on how he thinks we're doing."

Pittsburgh won the first meeting between the clubs 5-3 on Dec. 7. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and two assists for the Penguins. They'll meet once more on Feb. 16 in Pittsburgh.

--Field Level Media

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