It’s very easy to find the bad in what’s happened to the Pittsburgh Penguins over the last few months, especially following their latest 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. However, while the Penguins’ playoff spot is now in jeopardy, their fate is still in their hands.
If they win their next three games, they’ll make the playoffs regardless of what the rest of the league does. Beating Ottawa on Tuesday alone would go a long way towards securing a postseason berth even if the Senators defeat Toronto tonight. With that in mind, part of Penguins coach Mike Johnston’s job now is to make sure the Penguins don’t assume a defeatist attitude or allow all the negativity surrounding them to snowball.
“This is a results business, but you still have to build on it,” Johnston told the Penguins’ website. “You have to take what we did well (Saturday) and today. Still we need more. We have to find more. We have to dig down and search for more, but take a lot of the good things we’ve done in the last two days and put them into the Ottawa game. It’s a results business. You’ve got to win games at this time of the year.”
Sunday’s contest wasn’t devoid of positives for the Penguins. They did start the game strong and against a different goaltender, Pittsburgh might have won.
At the same time, the Penguins also need to play a more disciplined game going forward. As Johnston noted, “(Daniel Winnik’s penalty) had a huge impact” as it prevented them from going into the first period with the lead. Discipline issues aren’t new to Pittsburgh either as the squad has the second most minors in the league.
For that matter, the Penguins’ struggles are nothing new. They have been falling for three and a half months, which begs the question: Can they really hope to reverse course now?