The Pittsburgh Penguins have dropped four straight games and Mike Johnston has seen enough.
Following the Penguins 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils Monday, the Penguins rookie head coach called out his team.
“We need a response,” Johnston said per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “We need to squeeze more out of each individual. We probably got a good response from half of our group. We didn’t get a good response from the rest of them. We need to squeeze more out of guys. There’s more to give. We needed more guys pulling on the rope. We didn’t have enough.”
Pittsburgh opened the scoring on captain Sidney Crosby’s 11th of the season; however, it was all New Jersey after that.
Travis Zajac and Jaromir Jagr gave the Devils a 2-1 lead after two periods. Adam Henrique’s 10th of the season at 5:32 of the third stood to be the insurance marker.
Due to injury and illness the Penguins had eight players in their lineup Monday, who started the season in the American Hockey League. Despite dressing a young roster, Johnston expects more.
“When a guy comes up, the first two games, they’re on Cloud 9, playing with energy and adrenaline,” said Johnston. “But now, they’ve got to play heavy minutes against top guys. Some guys are responding well, and some guys aren’t.”
The Penguins will look to snap the skid Wednesday night when the Carolina Hurricanes visit Pittsburgh. The two teams have split the first two meetings this season with Carolina winning 4-2 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 28 and the Penguins edging the Canes 3-2 on Nov. 29 in Carolina.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Auston Matthews, who might be one of the top picks in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, is an inspiration both for those who think there’s a long-term future for hockey in Arizona and young players in the market as they have living proof that you can develop into a great hockey player while living in Arizona. (New York Times)
Editor’s Note: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $18,000 Fantasy Hockey league for Tuesday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $2,000. Starts Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. ET. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Capitals goalie coach Mitch Korn is willing to go to extreme lengths to avoid being wasteful:
Puck Daddy ran down its Top 10 saves of 2014. (Puck Daddy)
Travis Zajac is hoping that new New Jersey Devils co-coach Adam Oates can help him bounce back from a season-long slump. The 29-year-old center took a step in the right direction last night with a goal and an assist against Pittsburgh. (The Bergen Record)
Here are the highlights from Boston’s 5-2 victory over Detroit:
The Edmonton Oilers got plenty of support from fans during their skills competition despite the gloomy state of the team. (Edmonton Sun)
The ECHL Kalamazoo Wings will be wearing these fancy jerseys on New Years Eve:
Jaromir Jagr and the New Jersey Devils got a little revenge against the Pittsburgh Penguins tonight. They also generated the first win under their odd new coaching regime, topping Pittsburgh 3-1.
Jagr scored the 711th goal of his NHL career, which ended up standing as the game-winner (Jagr’s record 126th GWG, by the way):
Also notable: Jagr made a dated pop culture reference to Robert Bortuzzo:
(Hey, give him a break, he’s 42.)
Jagr gave Jordin Tootoo plenty of credit for going after Bortuzzo.
The Penguins are now 0-3-1 in their last four games as a depleted lineup may be hitting the wall. The Devils have been dominant against the Penguins in Newark, really, so it might just come down to that.
Either way, Jagr & Co. got a measure of revenge while Pittsburgh might just want 2014 to end.