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Penguins’ woes against last-place teams continue with loss to Devils

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Right after limping by way of a mediocre western road vacation heading into their midseason break, the Pittsburgh Penguins experienced a 7 days away from the rink to get their minds correct.

In its place, they acquired quite a great deal every little thing improper Monday evening in opposition to the New Jersey Devils.

Travis Zajac experienced a objective and three assists, and the Devils handed the Penguins a comprehensive 6-3 beating at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins are 3-5- due to the fact an eight-recreation winning streak arrived to an end Jan. 6.

They also are -3 this season in opposition to the very last-location Devils, acquiring been outscored 15-6 in individuals games.

“I imagine they’ve just outworked us, basic and very simple,” captain Sidney Crosby reported. “You seem at the games, they’ve worked harder. They’ve deserved it. As disappointing as that is and as a great deal as you never like declaring it, that’s the truth of the matter.”

It was not tough to pinpoint the ugliest moment of the evening.

It arrived with the Penguins on the power play, currently down 2- early in the 2nd interval.

Evgeni Malkin couldn’t manage a pass back again to him in the defensive zone and turned a puck around to Pavel Zacha together the boards. Malkin was shielded by the Devils ahead as he angled his way toward the web. Zacha’s pass eluded Kris Letang’s adhere and located Brian Boyle, who experienced a move on Phil Kessel, streaking to the considerably write-up for the objective.

The Penguins have authorized 11 brief-handed aims this season, most in the NHL.

“It’s 11,” Crosby reported, dumbfounded. “I imagine it could probably be a pair different things depending on the play. It’s not a stat we’re very pleased of, that’s for guaranteed.”

Apart from the obvious impression the objective experienced on the scoreboard, it also shined a light-weight on some of the difficulties that have plagued the Penguins frequently in the course of the season.

It was evidence of a relaxed solution to mistakes with the puck that is a hallmark of all the team’s worst efforts of the calendar year.

“A great deal of games are received prior to the puck drops,” coach Mike Sullivan reported. “For me, it starts with a attitude likely in. Are you ready to play? Are you a lot more identified than your opponent? We can handle individuals things.”

The play also illustrated Malkin’s woes with the puck. He’s a minus-10 in his earlier 5 games and minus-20 for the season.

“Obviously, we’d like him to have a lot more of a beneficial impression on the recreation,” Sullivan reported. “He’s this kind of a proficient participant, and he’s this kind of an completed participant and I know how a great deal he cares about this crew and this business and hoping to assist us get. Component of my responsibility as his coach and our team is we’re hoping to assist Geno by way of this course of action to attempt to assist him seize his incredibly very best recreation.”

The Penguins fell guiding 2- in a two-moment span of the first interval. The first objective arrived soon after a substantial dump-in by Steven Santini into the left-wing corner bounced earlier Letang and onto Miles Wood’s adhere for a pass to Zajac. The 2nd arrived on a extended-range wrister from Damon Severson.

Jack Johnson left the recreation with an personal injury with about 12 minutes left in the third interval. Sullivan did not have an update on his condition.

Derick Brassard and Matt Cullen scored for the Penguins, who fell to 1-7-1 in opposition to the four teams presently in very last location in the NHL’s four divisions: New Jersey, Ottawa, Chicago and Los Angeles.

“The foundation of the recreation is just rooted in aggressive spirit,” Sullivan reported. “You’ve acquired to be prepared to commit emotionally, first and foremost. When you do, that’s generally when players and teams are at their very best.”

Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review team author. You can get in touch with Jonathan at jbombulie@tribweb.com or by way of Twitter @BombulieTrib.

A shot by the Devils’ Travis Zajac (not pictured) gets past Penguins goaltender Matt Murray as he is screened by New Jersey’s Blake Coleman (right) with Matt Cullen defending during the first period.

A shot by the Devils’ Travis Zajac (not pictured) receives earlier Penguins goaltender Matt Murray as he is screened by New Jersey’s Blake Coleman (correct) with Matt Cullen defending during the first interval.

Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid blocks a shot as Patric Hornqvist looks for the rebound with Andy Greene (center) defending.

Devils goaltender Keith Kinkaid blocks a shot as Patric Hornqvist seems to be for the rebound with Andy Greene (heart) defending.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jack Johnson (73) and New Jersey Devils’ Drew Stafford (18) collide during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jack Johnson (73) and New Jersey Devils’ Drew Stafford (18) collide during the first interval of an NHL hockey recreation in Pittsburgh, Monday, Jan. 28, 2019. (AP Image/Gene J. Puskar)



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