PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan) – Tristan Jarry will start in net as the Pens did not have a morning skate before Tuesday night’s game in Philadelphia. No other updates to the new injury to goalie Casey DeSmith or previous injuries, including Brandon Tanev.
Last night’s 7-2 loss was bad on many levels, at times just fire wagon hockey as the Pens gave up more shots than they had all year.
“We can’t be giving up that many chances,” said defenseman Marcus Pettersson. “We’ve seen like last week against Washington, when we give up few scoring chances we are going to create our own offense. We have to leave that one behind us and not accept it.”
The Flyers are out of the playoffs, but will finish with a winning record against the Pens and won the three meetings in Eastern PA by a combined score of 18-7.
“They are a good team you have to give them credit,” said forward Jason Zucker. “They played well (Monday). They’ve played well against us this year. It’s obviously an in-state rivaly and a big rivalry for us.”
It didn’t seem like the Pens treated it as such on Monday. Pens head coach Mike Sullivan said they were just not on their game and not playing simple. When they play simple and hard they are tough to play against. Marcus Pettersson admitted they may have played differently because Evgeni Malkin returned after a month and a half away due to injury.
“When we’ve had guys out of the lineup, you see how we play,” Pettersson said. “We play tight as a five man unit with speed. We play a physical game. I think we have to find our way back to that. When we play hard and do fine we create our own offense.”
Malkin did have a point in his return, rejoining Jason Zucker and Kasperi Kapanen on the team’s second line. They have three games and a practice before the end of the regular season.
“For us as a line, we have to just get with it and just get playing together again,” Zucker said. “It’s tough when you don’t have any practice to be out there as a line. We have to get back into it as the games go on here.”
“We’ve got three left to get that chemistry back. I feel confident we will be able to do it. It’s just a matter of sticking together, working together. We’ll have to talk on the bench and try to get that back.”
“We have a lot to play for,” Sullivan said. “This time of year is exciting. We are trying to gain home ice advantage. We are trying to finish as strongly as we can. We want to feel good about our game, but also we want to finish as strongly as we can to give ourselves the best chance to be successful in the post-season.”
Currently the Pens tied with Washington for first in the MassMutual Division with tonight’s game and home games with Buffalo Thursday and Saturday. The Caps have a game at the Rangers on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday hosting Philly and next Tuesday home to Boston.
The Bruins are three points back and the Islanders are four behind. Any of the teams could finish in first place.
“We all know that’s not going to cut it in the playoffs and moving forward here,” Pettersson said. “We still have everything in our own hands. Bounce back, that’s all we can do.”
“This is the human aspect to sports,” Sullivan said. “We have to find a way to move past this. Fortunately for us, we get to play again right away. Part of me feels good about that because we don’t have to sit on this one for too long.”
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