Courtesy of Point Park University

Kovacevic: If not for all those M-I-S-T-A-K-E-S …


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Jake Guentzel skates away after a Lightning goal Saturday night in Tampa, Fla. - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

TAMPA, Fla. -- The Penguins don't just make mistakes. They make M-I-S-T-A-K-E-S.

For example, it wasn't enough that Bryan Rust misfired on a lateral pass to Sidney Crosby ... it also had to be picked off by one of the NHL's premier puck-moving defenseman, Victor Hedman. It wasn't enough that Kris Letang pinched even though Rust had begun peeling back ... he also had to stumble and slide further forward. It wasn't enough that Letang's partner, Marcus Pettersson, was stretched a mile wide at the other point ... he had to match Letang's stumble and slide as if it were a synchronized competition.

Which resulted in a two-on-none ...

... that ultimately resulted in Yanni Gourde's goal and, by the time a few more messes were made, the NHL-leading Lightning prevailing over the Penguins, 5-4, Saturday night at Amalie Arena.

"I thought we fought hard all night," Mike Sullivan would observe, not unfairly. "You know, we battled, we pushed ... "

Slight pause.

"But the types of mistakes we make, we beat ourselves. Some of the decisions we make with the puck, we give teams really high-quality opportunities. And you can't do that against a team as good as they are."

Nope. Not once or twice, let alone three major M-I-S-T-A-K-E-S. Even within what I honestly felt was an exceptional effort put forth by all concerned.

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