If the past two games have shown us anything about the Pittsburgh Penguins, it is that they have a serious problem.
Last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins battled with the Carolina Hurricanes, the team that they are jostling with for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Anyways, with less than five minutes to play, the Pens boasted a one goal lead, and all signs looked to lead to a victory for Pittsburgh. But as we saw, that would not be the case.
The Penguins would go on to lose the game in a shootout, and it was a sequence of events that has become all too similar to this squad this season. Think back to late February, when the Penguins would lose a two goal lead in the final minutes against the Flyers. Or even worse, when the Pens played Philly three days ago and gave up the tying goal with less than two minutes left in the game.
As Columbus continues to stumble, it seems fair to say that the Penguins will make the playoffs, so that is not the concern here. What concerns me, and should concern Sullivan and the Penguins, is that they have been struggling to close teams out late in games. Out of Pittsburgh’s last six losses, they had the lead heading into the third period in four of those games.
In terms of what attributes to these late game struggles, it is hard to say. What is not hard to say however is that come playoff time these types of things are what is going to kill a Pittsburgh team that has some of the best talent in the NHL.
Unless something drastic happens over these next few weeks, Pittsburgh will find themselves in the playoffs. But if they perform then like they are now, they may not be there for too long.