The Penguins said from the time their first-round playoff matchup with the New York Islanders was set that they anticipated a long series.
For a while, that seemed mostly like an expression of respect for their opponents.
Based on the way the Penguins played in their 4-3 loss against the Islanders in Game 2 Friday night at Consol Energy Center, though, it might be more like wishful thinking.
Oh, the Penguins hardly are doomed to a first-round elimination for the third consecutive spring -- after all, the series is just tied, 1-1, heading into Game 3 at Nassau Coliseum at 12:08 p.m. Sunday -- but another early exit might be in their future if they replicate their performance from Game 2 a few more times.
New York's 42-33 advantage in shots underscored -- indeed, might have understated -- how the Islanders dictated play, as the Penguins squandered the emotional lift they got from Sidney Crosby's return and the tangible one he provided by scoring their second and third goals.
Crosby, who had missed the previous 13 games because of a broken jaw, played 23 minutes, 21 seconds and had a 14-12 mark on faceoffs to go with his two goals.
"I thought he didn't miss a beat," coach Dan Bylsma said. "He skated well. He was on pucks. He was strong. I thought he was very good."
Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't bad for much of the night, either, but misplayed the puck on what became the winning goal at 12:23 of the third period.
The game was tied, 3-3, when New York's Kyle Okposo launched a shot that went wide of the left post, then ricocheted off the back boards and hit Fleury before skidding across the goal line.
"Kind of a fortunate bounce off the boards," Okposo said. "And it just kind of trickled into the net."
Fleury faced just 26 shots in the Penguins' 5-0 victory in the opener, but had 42 thrown at him in Game 2. And that wasn't the only thing that changed over 48 hours.
Many of the Islanders seemed to have stage fright during Game 1, but Friday night they were composed and focused and disciplined, even as the Penguins were building an early 3-1 lead.
"We did a lot of good things tonight from a structural standpoint," New York coach Jack Capuano said.
That had been true of the Penguins Wednesday, and winger Pascal Dupuis suggested the roots of their Game 2 loss might have stretched back to that lopsided victory.
"You win, 5-0, you steamroll a team, and you think it's going to be easy the next game," he said. "But it's not like that in the playoffs. You have to show up, you have to battle, you have to make the right plays."
The Penguins made a few of those early, beginning with the first shift, when Evgeni Malkin backhanded his own rebound past goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
They seemed poised to take over when Crosby steered in a Jarome Iginla feed at 3:19, but Matt Moulson got New York back in the game at 7:04, as his centering pass from the right side went off the stick of Penguins defenseman Paul Martin and into the net. The goal initially was credited to Brad Boyes, but replays showed he hit Martin's stick blade, not the puck.