Kovacevic: If Penguins defend just decently, their malaise is barely worth a shrug


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The Penguins celebrate Evgeni Malkin's winning goal in the third period Wednesday. - AP

EDMONTON, Alberta -- "Nah. It was never really that bad. It's not like we're that far off."

Patric Hornqvist has a spectacular way of snapping off 'Nah.' Does it more dismissively than maybe anyone I've known.

So when he opened our one-on-one talk with one of those trademark snaps late Wednesday night at Rogers Place, I had probably the most powerful possible indicator that, yeah, the Penguins are OK.

Oh, in addition to that thoroughly complete 3-2 victory over the Oilers.

"It was good," Hornqvist would continue. "We worked a little harder, but it was more about just doing stuff the way we can. There was no problem. There was nothing we couldn't fix."

No one's going to want to hear that, I'm sure. Not yet. Not after the flat-line showings in St. Paul and Winnipeg to open this trip. And certainly not with another of these calamitous back-to-back scenarios to be concluded Thursday right down Alberta Highway 2 in Calgary.

At the same time, Hornqvist's right: It really is that simple. It's been that simple all along.

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