The Penguins have talked about reaching a desired level of desperation since before the playoffs began.
It looked at times in their 5-1 loss to the New York Rangers Friday in Game 5 of the teams' second-round series that desperation morphed into frustration.
Among those times were defenseman Kris Letang icing the puck on a hard clearing shot, and the Rangers scoring shortly after the ensuing faceoff; center Sidney Crosby standing for several seconds with his skates splayed, one of them on the edge of the blue line, and arguing against an offsides call; and Crosby slamming his stick on the floor at the end of the bench.
Coach Dan Bylsma on Saturday said looks can be deceiving.
"You take a snapshot of a player at a given time and you call it frustration because you don't win the game," he said. "You take that same snapshot and you win the game or get a different result, and you're going to call it something different."
Bylsma said he did not believe Letang's icing play was born of frustration.
There was one moment, Bylsma acknowledged, when frustration set in.
"At the end of the game, you're not happy with [5-1]," he said. "You're frustrated with that situation, but we have to put this game behind us."
The Penguins have been preoccupied with their series against the Rangers for the past week-plus, but most players said they have been keeping an eye on the Boston-Montreal series, as well.
The winner of the Penguins-Rangers series will meet the Bruins-Canadiens winner in the Eastern Conference final.
To a man, they insisted before Game 5 that they were focused solely on New York -- "I'm only worried about one series, and that's this series," right winger Craig Adams said -- but there did seem to be a consensus on which team they would like to see come out of that series and advance to the conference final.
The one that is borderline exhausted in the wake of winning Game 7 in quadruple overtime.
After playing five overtimes in Game 6, which is Monday night at Bell Centre in Montreal.
"As [an opposing] player, you want it to be a lot of overtimes and [go] all the way to Game 7," defenseman Paul Martin said.
"Your own series, you want to finish it as soon as you can. You want the others to go long, with lots of overtimes."
Eleven players participated in an optional practice at Southpointe. The only ones who played in Game 5 the night before were defensemen Rob Scuderi and Robert Bortuzzo, and forwards Craig Adams, Brian Gibbons and Marcel Goc. ... Before the practice, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury skated in sweats, using a non-goalie stick to do some stickhandling and shooting. ... The Rangers had a day off. ... New York center Derick Brassard, who matched a postseason career high with three points in Game 5, became the fifth Rangers player to have three of his first five career playoff goals stand as winners. He also became the first Rangers player with two winning goals on the road in one series since Adams Graves in 1996. ... Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist is 8-2 with a .953 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average in his past 10 games with New York facing elimination, as the Rangers will be again tonight in Game 6 at Madison Square Garden.
Shelly Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1721 and Twitter @pgshelly. Dave Molinari: email@example.com and Twitter @MolinariPG.