Might the kids from the East finally be in over their heads?
"If we played our best game and they dominated us, I might say yes, but there's a lot more we can do," said defenseman Rob Scuderi, who was burned for the first of Mikael Samuelsson's two goals in Detroit's 4-0 win Saturday night. "There's definitely no lack of confidence."
The Penguins held their first regular practice at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday, returning to the scene of what coach Michel Therrien called the team's "worst performance of the playoffs."
It was hard to argue that assessment.
Pittsburgh has lost only three times in the postseason, but its road record is 4-3. Two of the defeats have been by shutout.
The Penguins are in an unfamiliar role of trailing in a series. In the first three rounds, Pittsburgh raced to 3-0 leads against the Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers -- needing no more than five games to advance.
Therrien isn't wasting any time against the Red Wings, and appears set to juggle his forward lines in an attempt to get more going in Game 2 on Monday. He preached effort and desire on Sunday.
"We were kind of sitting back and kind of watching them move the puck," center Jordan Staal said. "We have the speed to pressure them and make them make mistakes. We didn't do that in the second and we started doing it in the third.
"We just have to play a better game all-around. As long as we play a full 60, I think we'll be fine."
Detroit's top line of Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom shut down Sidney Crosby in a matchup that Therrien said he didn't mind going into Game 1. The Red Wings will still have the last line change playing at home in Game 2, but Pittsburgh will provide them with a little different look.
Crosby will center a trio with wingers Marian Hossa and newcomer Ryan Malone. Pascal Dupuis will drop down to the No. 2 line alongside Staal and Tyler Kennedy. Struggling center Evgeni Malkin, who has one goal and one assist the past five games, will play between Max Talbot and Petr Sykora.
"Maybe the lines will match up better against their team," Staal said. "Obviously, we want to shake it up and get a new look from different players. Hopefully it does the job."
The Penguins generated eight of their 12 shots in the scoreless first period during four power plays -- totaling just over 6 minutes -- and recorded five drives on goalie Chris Osgood during one advantage. Pittsburgh had only seven shots and one power-play chance the final 40 minutes.
"It could've been a different game ... but they killed the four power plays, and the momentum was on their side," Dupuis said. "It's just effort and attention to details. If you want to beat these guys, you've got to play hard. You've got to want it more than them. We didn't want it bad enough, I guess."
Perhaps the addition of 42-year-old forward Gary Roberts will change that. Roberts is coming off a difficult season in which he endured several injuries to his legs and a bout with pneumonia in the East finals against Philadelphia.
He felt healthy enough to play Saturday, but was held out on a coach's decision. He was miffed by the benching and didn't enjoy watching the game on what he said was a 21-inch television in the upper reaches of the arena.
"I'm focused on what I need to do to help the team win," Roberts said. "Any time you lose a game it's tough, but this team has bounced back before. There is a lot of character in here and there's no reason we won't bounce back.
"I'm excited. For me, bringing some emotion, some intensity. I'm obviously not going to change my game at this point. I know what I need to do to be successful. This team we're playing against is really smart."
"It's about rewarding players," Therrien said. "When we told Gary that he was not playing, we've got to make sure he's got the right attitude and make sure he's ready to play. I had confidence that he was going to be back in our lineup.
"When you take somebody who is not playing and bring him into your lineup, somebody has to get out. We evaluate all different options, and we decided it's going to be Georges."