The Pittsburgh Penguins roared out to a 3-0 first period lead, only to get steamrolled the rest of the way, en route to a 4-3 overtime loss to the Ottawa Senators.
The Penguins surrendered four unanswered goals for the fourth straight game.
Mike Hoffman (27) tied the game at 3-3 with a 1:48 left in regulation and then trouble continued for the Penguins, as Ben Lovejoy who continues to play at an AHL level and was on the ice for three goals against, failed to get the puck deep and the Penguins got caught with a too-many men penalty with 29 seconds left in the third.
Ottawa failed to score on the power play that carried over into overtime but Pittsburgh failed to get momentum off the kill and Mark Stone (24) scored off the rush at 2:43 of overtime to give the Senators a thrilling 4-3 overtime win.
The Senators (95 pts) with the win pulled within one point of the Penguins (96 pts). Both teams have two games remaining.
Pittsburgh finishes the season against the Islanders and Sabres. Ottawa ends the season against the Rangers, who have clinched the Presidents Trophy, and the Flyers.
The Penguins magic number is now three but in the big picture this team is going nowhere.
HIGH SHOTS AGAINST VOLUME EVENTUALLY DOOMED PENGUINS TONIGHT
The Penguins could have not asked for a better start. Ottawa came out tight and Pittsburgh jumped on them within seconds.
Sidney Crosby (28) scored 10 seconds into the game, and Beau Bennett (4), Patric Hornqvist (25) also added goals as the Penguins took a commanding 3-0 lead just 14:44 into the game.
Should have been lights out, right?
A push was expected from a Senators team that never gives up but the Penguins were never able to take over the game again or dictate the pace.
Ottawa kept pushing, pushing, got a lucky bounce on a shorthanded goal late in the second period to cut the Penguins lead to 3-1 but Ottawa peppered Marc Andre Fleury with 16 shots in the second period, many high volume opportunities.
The high volume shots against was extremely concerning for the Penguins in period two and it continued the rest of the game as Mark Stone (23) scored 34 seconds into the third period to make it a 3-2 game. Eventually the Senators were going to get pucks past Marc Andre Fleury, who was excellent, and that’s how things played out for Ottawa.
Ottawa outshot Pittsburgh 44-28 in the game, including a 37-16 edge from the second period on and had a 21-3 advantage from the third period on.
The Penguins were 0-4 on the power play and had just 5 power play shots.
Mike Johnston said after the game that the Penguins “did a lot of good things for 3/4 of [the] game.”
Not sure if he was watching the Portland Winterhawks on his IPhone during stoppages or what.
NHL PLAYOFF RACE
1. NY Rangers, 111 Points, ROW 48, 2 GR
2. Washington Capitals, 99 points, ROW 39, 2 GR
2. NY Islanders, 98 Points, ROW 39, 2 GR
1. Montreal Canadiens, 106 Points, ROW 42, 2 GR
2. Tampa Bay Lightning, 104 Points, ROW 46, 2 GR
3. Detroit Red Wings, 97 Points, ROW 38, 2 GR
1. Pittsburgh Penguins, 96 points, ROW 38, 2 GR
2. Boston Bruins, 95 points, ROW 37, 3 GR
3. Ottawa Senators, 95 Points, ROW 34, 2 GR