It is a great day for hockey like the Pittsburgh Penguins would proudly say - and it is - however, there seems to be a potentially major issues for the team facing the Washington Capitals tonight in a pivotal Game 4 in the second round series. The Caps managed to win the third contest of the series when captain Alex Ovechkin scored the game-winning goal with just over a minute to play in the third period on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the Penguins came out and explained they weren't in a panic mode despite trailing 2-1 in the series. Their argument is that it isn't the first time this has happened to them. The Pens trailed the Ottawa Senators 2-1 in the 2017 Eastern Conference Final before winning the next two games, losing 2-1 in Game 6 and winning 3-2 in the second overtime of Game 7. In 2016, the Penguins trailed the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-2 in the conference final and won the final two games by a combined score of 7-3.
"I think we have lots of experience to draw on in circumstances," head coach Mike Sullivan said to NHL.com. "It's hard to win in the playoffs and you're going to go through ups and downs, and emotional highs and emotional lows. It's all about how you handle those and how you react and respond."
However, there seems to be an issue right there. How they handle it and react to the Caps' winning ways. On Thursday, the Penguins held practice and reporters on site decide to dig a little of what what the Pens' plans ahead of tonight's game.
Bad news. There seems to be none. Following the team's practice, Sullivan revealed that tonight's lineup will be a game-time decision, which includes whether Carl Hagelin can play and who will replace Zach Aston-Reese, who is out with a concussion and a broken jaw, following the devastating hit from Capital's Tom Wilson.
While we get that some coaches prefer to keep quiet on what they plan on doing against their opponents, it seems a little nerve-racking to see that Sullivan is waiting at the last minute to have a lineup in mind and counter the Caps' aggressive offensive boost.
However, remember, they are not panicking.
"I don't think anything concerns us," captain Sidney Crosby said. "There's always things that you have to clean up and get better [at] as the series goes on. So there are things we definitely want to improve on, but I think that's pretty typical for any series."
The question is: should they be worrying? Are you happy with how the Penguins are reacting to the Caps' lead?