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Pens stumble into bye week with 7-3 loss in Vegas

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A bad loss to go into the break

Los Angeles Kings v Vegas Golden Knights Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

At the end of 12 days on the road, and playing five games in nine days, the Pittsburgh Penguins ran out of gas in a sloppy 7-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights.

If there was any surprise it might have been that the Pens made it a 3-3 game in the second period after falling behind 3-1 in the first. But then before the end of the second period Jonathan Marchessault scored twice to give Vegas a 5-3 lead that they would never look back from.

“It’s tough to have to climb back a couple times like that,” Sidney Crosby said. “You’re not putting yourself in a great situation to win. We made some mistakes - most of them early in the first period.”

It certainly did, in a variety of ways. Casey DeSmith was making saves on multiple different breakaways that the team allowed, but then would give up a goal on a fairly routine slapshot from the point by Shea Theodore to open the game. You had Olli Maatta and Jack Johnson getting lost in space on the penalty kill. Kris Letang failing to take away a pass that Oscar Lindberg could fire into the net. Total team breakdowns were everywhere and common.

Yet, be it pride or the last burst of energy, the Penguins were able to regroup in the second period. Dominik Simon got bumped up with the Crosby and Jake Guentzel and they struck instantly for two goals within the first six minutes of the second to tie the game. If there was any positive on the night it would be that.

On the negative side, Johnson was on the ice for five goals against, all that Vegas scored besides Lindberg’s and the empty net. Marcus Pettersson was on ice for three goals against. None for. Any illusions about some special chemistry about the third pair playing well together has disappeared with the unsustainable goaltending coming back to earth.

At the end, it’s a 2-3-0 road trip that wasn’t ultimately successful but at least was gotten through. Probably less shame to lose in Vegas at the tail-end and on a back-to-back compared with dropping a decision earlier to Los Angeles. Regardless, they’re still looking for some answers moving forward.

Also have to agree with our bud Pat about looking at the bigger picture here:

The Penguins were sloppy from top-to-bottom and deserved to lose as a team since not many besides Guentzel-Crosby-Simon had a very good night for more than a shift or two at a time. Tough one at the end of a long trip, but the light at the end of the tunnel is now the eight day break to rest, relax and kick off the stretch run of the season.