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Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Penguins playoff hopes continue to slip

Photo by Evan Levine
Outside PPG Paints Arena, where the Pittsburgh Penguins play.

Following a 6-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on St. Patrick’s Day, the Penguins departed from Pittsburgh for a challenging three-game road.


The Penguins lost 5-2 to the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday with the Pittsburgh goals coming from Marcus Petterson and Bryan Rust.


The second game of the road trip was on Friday against one of the Central Division’s best, the Dallas Stars.


Early in the first period, Evgeni Malkin passed the puck from behind the net to Michael Bunting who stuffed it past Jake Oettinger for the 1-0 lead.


Just five minutes later, Stars forward Joe Pavelski scored off of an awkward bounce to tie the game at one apiece.


In the second period, Stars Captain Jamie Benn scored from the left wing circle on the power play to give his team the 2-1 lead.


About two minutes later, Jamie Benn attempted a pass to the front of the Penguins net, but the puck found its way past Tristan Jarry and the Stars now had a 3-1 lead.


Sam Steel extended the lead to 4-1 about five minutes into the third period on a pass from Craig Smith.


Penguins forward Rickard Rakell gave the team a little bit of life a little later in the period, but the Stars held on for the 4-2 win over Pittsburgh.


Sunday afternoon, the Penguins met another one of the finest teams in the Central Division, the Colorado Avalanche. 


The Penguins dominated this game early, and it eventually paid off when Jesse Puljujarvi got his second goal of the season.


With less than five minutes remaining in the period, Bryan Rust powered his way to the crease and slipped the puck past Alexander Georgiev to give the Pens the 2-0 lead over the Avs. 


Sidney Crosby scored his 34th of the season on a beautiful deflection from below the goal line and on the side of the net. His goal extended their lead to 3-0.


Defenseman Pierre-Oliver Joseph got his first goal of the season about two minutes later for the 4-0 lead over the Avalanche, but that was where the fortune ended for the Penguins.


Not even a minute after the Joseph goal, Colorado’s trade deadline acquisition, Sean Walker, shot it from the point and beat Alex Nedeljkovic to put the score at 4-1. 


As the period was winding down, Yakov Trenin cut Pittsburgh’s lead in half as the game went into the second intermission.


The Avalanche made it a 4-3 game when Nathan MacKinnon found Jonathan Drouin on a cross-ice pass early in the third period. 


Shortly following the goal, the Penguins had to take Nedeljkovic out of the game for a brief period for precautionary reasons after colliding with an Avalanche player. 


With 4:38 remaining in the third period, Drouin and MacKinnon essentially reversed their earlier play, with Drouin passing across the ice to MacKinnon who tied the game at 4-4 to force it into overtime. 


Nedeljkovic returned to the game for the Penguins following MacKinnon’s goal.


Not even a full minute into overtime, Jonathan Drouin came into the Penguins zone on a partial breakaway and put the puck past Nedeljkovic to win it for the Avalanche and officially complete the comeback. 


As of Monday morning, the Penguins now sit nine points out of a playoff spot with just twelve games remaining in the season. Based on the team’s play over the course of this month, their chances of making playoffs have dropped dramatically.


Their next matchup was back in Pittsburgh on Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes, where recently traded forward Jake Guentzel made his emotional and highly anticipated return to Pittsburgh.

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