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.