The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a 2-0 lead for the second game in a row and this time around they weren’t so lucky to come out of Edmonton with a victory.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored two goals, including the winner in overtime, and added an assist as the Edmonton Oilers came from behind to beat the Penguins 4-3 on Friday night in OT.
Sidney Crosby (25), James Neal (17) and Kris Letang (8) scored for Pittsburgh in the loss. Jeff Zatkoff made 27 saves on 31 shots, losing for the first time since October 25th.
While everything looks great for the Penguins in the standings with the fourth most points in the NHL and a seven point lead over the Boston Bruins for the Eastern Conference, the same problems the Penguins have constantly had in the post-season over the past couple years, have suddenly popped back up with the Penguins having most of their core players back.
The trend of playing pond hockey continued for the Penguins Friday night as they were plagued by sloppy play and constantly looking for the highlight reel play. Pittsburgh is giving up over 3.4 goals per game over their last nine games.
Finally a veteran other than Brooks Orpik stepped up and ripped the team. Rob Scuderi said the Penguins have to quit playing hockey like the Harlem Globetrotters.
“If you’re going to try and play hockey like the Harlem Globetrotters, you’re going to get burned,” Scuderi said via the Tribune-Review. “We continue to make the same mistakes, go for the same highlight reel plays. That might look good on the highlight reels every now and then, but it’s not a formula for winning.”
The toughest part for Bylsma and the coaching staff is keeping the Penguins motivated towards playing strong defensive hockey going into the stretch run and the post-season. With 36 games left and the Penguins on their way to winning the division in a landslide, that could be difficult.