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PENS HOPE TO REGROUP QUICKLY FOR THURSDAY'S GAME AGAINST ATLANTA

Tuesday, 10.25.2005 / 12:00 AM / Pittsburgh Penguins
Pittsburgh Penguins

The bad news for the Pittsburgh Penguins: They lost their ninth-straight game Tuesday night.

The good news: They won’t have long to wait to go for win No. 1 as the Atlanta Thrashers invade Mellon Arena at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

FSN Pittsburgh will have television coverage, while the radio broadcast will be on 3WS (94.5 FM) with the pregame show airing at 7 p.m.

The Penguins (0-4-5) came very close to winning their first game of the season Tuesday night against Florida. Pittsburgh took its first lead since Oct. 8 in the third period on Dick Tarnstrom’s power-play goal. However, the Panthers retaliated with two power-play goals to win the game.

It was the Penguins’ fifth overtime loss this year and fourth in which they lost while shorthanded in the extra period.

“We have to continue to look at our club, continued to talk to Craig [Patrick] and Mario [Lemieux] and the coaches and find a way to win a hockey game,” Penguins coach Eddie Olczyk said. “Obviously, close isn’t good enough. The piano gets a little heavier every time you go without a win.

“I thought the guys competed very hard [Tuesday night] and the work has never been a question as far as I am concerned,” he continued. “It’s just the execution. Five of our nine games have gone to overtime and we don’t have a win yet. We need to regroup quickly because we have a pretty darn good hockey team coming in Thursday night.”

What makes it tougher – those five overtime losses were decided by one goal.

“I think the bottom line is winning. It doesn’t matter how close or far away you are,” Olczyk said. “It hurts as much for everybody around here – from the players, right through our organization to our trainers and the people who work across the streak. It’s tough sledding right now. I thought we played real well at times [Tuesday night]. Again, we need to make our breaks and finish a game off.

“It is difficult to take,” he continued. “We never said it was going to be easy and we have some character guys in our room and we will continue to talk to them and work with them and find a way to win a game.”

One bright spot: Sidney Crosby continues to lead all rookies with 12 points (2+10). In addition, he continues to create power-play opportunities for the Penguins as he drew six penalties Tuesday night with his quickness and breakaway ability.

“His speed to the outside creating – he brought a lot of energy. He played very well,” Olczyk said. “He is a young guy who still has a lot to learn, but he has accepted every challenge I have given him. I’d love nothing more for him and the rest of our guys to taste a win. We’re going to keep battling. There are some long nights after games like this. The good thing is we don’t have a week to wait – only 48 hours to regroup to get back and play a real good Atlanta team.”

Tickets still remain for the game. For tickets, call 1-800-642-PENS or 412-642-PENS or log on to www.pittsburghpenguins.com.

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