The Pittsburgh Penguins could have fallen out of playoff positioning on Sunday had the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the New Jersey Devils. The good is it didn’t happen. Pittsburgh has lost four consecutive games and they have a very big game on the road against in-state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday night.
Philadelphia has played a lot better hockey lately than the Penguins have. Pittsburgh sits in the second wild card spot in the east with a 28-20-7 record with 63 points. Philadelphia is currently six points back of the Penguins.
This game is a potential four point swing. Pittsburgh could back in the win column or the Flyers could put the pressure even more on their in-state rival. Monday night’s game is going to feel like a playoff game in February no doubt.
The Pittsburgh Penguins need to play like it is the playoffs now. Evgeni Malkin, Justin Schultz, and Zach Aston-Reese are still injured for Pittsburgh and they need to play for this team. They are all missed big time in the lineup.
Pittsburgh has 27 games remaining on the schedule. They have made it to the playoffs 12 straight season and making it 13 years in a row could be in jeopardy right now. Twelve of the remaining 27 games are against teams who would be in the playoffs right now if the season ended today.
This team seems to respond well when adversity hits. The panic button needs to be pressed if the Pittsburgh Penguins lose again tomorrow. They can’t continue to give up short-handed goals. Pittsburgh has given up 12 of them this season. Part of the problem is on the players but part of the problem is also on assistant coach Mark Recchi.
They also need to be more committed defensively and Jack Johnson has been terrible all year long. He needs to be healthy scratched sooner rather than later.