The Penguins gained another valuable in Wednesday night’s 3-2 overtime loss but it’s a game that the Penguins felt they let get away.
After controlling the play for the first forty minutes, Pittsburgh blew a 2-1 lead in the third period and Mikhail Grabovski scored 42 seconds into OT, giving the Leafs a pivotal win to move four points out of a playoff spot.
The Penguins were unable to put away a Leafs team that coming into Wednesday’s game was 2-24-3 when trailing after two periods.
“Would have liked to see us get to 3-1,” head coach Dan Bylsma said. “There was a couple rebound chances that looked to be pretty good opportunities from the bench. But we didn’t get there and really, going into the third period with a 2-1 lead, we need to find ways to be better in those situations and close out that game regardless of whether we got that third goal or not.”
The Penguins inability to finish plays is something that probably won’t go away as they have few players in their lineup who can create their own shot or finish plays.
Dan Bylsma in his post-game comments was somewhat critical of particular players going away from their game and trying to be “skilled players”.
In the loss, the Penguins collected their 81 point of the season, which ties them for the second most points in the Eastern Conference. Pittsburgh is 3-7-2 in their last 12 games and according to projections, 90 points will get a team in the playoffs in the East. Any talk from the media about Pittsburgh being in trouble for a playoff spot is laughable.
Getting 9 out of a possible 34 points will get them in.
However, the Penguins enter a tough stretch to close out the week with back-to-back road games against New Jersey Friday night and Boston on Saturday.
Boston (37-19-7, 81pts) has won six straight, while the surging New Jersey Devils (28-31-4, 60pts) are 18-2-2 in their last 22 games.
While the Penguins remain in great position to a earn a playoff spot, whether they can hold off Washington (34 20-10, 78pts) for the No. 4 seed is doubtful.