After dropping Wednesday’s Game 3 to the Providence Bruins 2-1 in overtime, captain Joey Mormina outlined his team’s approach as they attempt to climb out of a 3-0 series deficit in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The plan? Take it one game at a time.
“This series is a best of seven and we have an opportunity Friday night to get a win,” Mormina said. “You can’t win four games in one night. It starts with one win.”
Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Penguins did generate enough positives to build upon for tonight’s Game 4. They held a Bruins offense to one regulation goal after being scorched for 12 goals in the first two games of the series.
“Those high-scoring games, that’s not what we’ve been used to all year,” forward Trevor Smith said.
The Penguins also dominated the play at times, sustaining pressure in the Providence end and came within a bounce or two of that crucial second goal.
“We did a lot of things better. It was a well-played game,” Penguins coach John Hynes said. “Unfortunately for us we didn’t do enough to win the game, but we took some steps toward getting a win.”
Providence’s Carter Camper spoiled the positive effort with his overtime goal less than a minute into the overtime period on Wednesday. The play came when an Alex Grant clearing pass was picked off, setting up the Bruins in the Penguins end.
Hynes said the play, which wasn’t necessarily Grant’s fault but something everyone on the ice is responsible for, is an example of how seemingly harmless plays are significant in the playoffs.
“When you get to this point in the season and you get to these games, whether it’s a Game 5 or in the situation we’re in now, a lot of the games come down to a single play,” he said. “The plays get magnified. Periods get magnified. Shifts get magnified. As games get tighter and there’s more on the line, usually it’s going to come down to one shift, one period, and those positives and negatives get magnified based on the end result.”
While the end result of the series has yet to be determined, the Penguins find themselves trying to do something few teams in professional sports have ever accomplished: come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win four in a row.
Despite the odds, they remain a determined bunch.
“We’re in a tough spot, but we have some character guys and a lot of fight in us still,” Smith said. “(Our mentality) hasn’t changed much. Every game in the playoffs is a must-win game.”
• The Penguins held an optional skate at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Thursday, along with team meetings.
• Defenseman Dylan Reese is still considered day-to-day heading into tonight’s game.