Yohe: Penguins struggling in overtime
The Penguins don't particularly like working overtime.
They might want to figure it out sooner rather than later.
Excelling in overtime games is often a necessity during the Stanley Cup playoffs, as the difference between moving on in the tournament and hitting the golf course early can often be an overtime goal.
The Penguins have lost all three of their overtime appearances this postseason, and their performances in extra time haven't impressed coach Dan Bylsma.
“We haven't been good in them this year, I know that,” Bylsma said. “It's been in relatively short order.”
The Penguins lost to the New York Rangers in Game 1 of the second-round series just 3:06 into the first overtime period. They also fell early in Game 4 of the first round against Columbus, as Nick Foligno's goal ended the contest 2:49 into overtime.
Bylsma believes the Penguins have been far too passive in overtime. He'd prefer his team pounce on the opposition and go for the kill early.
Instead, they have been the hunted.
“I think sometimes you get into overtime looking to settle into a long OT,” Bylsma said. “I think we haven't come to win them. We haven't gone out to win them, with that shot mentality. We've seen that in all three games.”
Winning in overtime once wasn't such a problem for the Penguins.
In fact, the Penguins won their first five playoff overtime games of the Sidney Crosby era. Magical moments, like Marian Hossa ending a series against the Rangers in 2008, Petr Sykora extending the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, and a couple of goals during the 2009 Stanley Cup run — Bill Guerin's Game 2 winner against the Flyers and Kris Letang's Game 3 series-saver against the Capitals — are etched in the memories of fans and the Penguins themselves.
However, since winning five consecutive overtime games in the playoffs, the Penguins have gone 4-8 during the past five springs.
They've never won an overtime game at Consol Energy Center, going 0-4. Three of those four overtime setbacks at the Pens' new home occurred during the first 3:06 of the extra period.
Dating to last season, the Penguins have lost five consecutive overtime games.
Captain Sidney Crosby, in the biggest scoring funk of his career, has never won a postseason game in overtime despite participating in 16 of them. The Penguins' record in his 16 overtime appearances is 8-8.
That figure once was much better.
Owner Mario Lemieux also never won a Stanley Cup playoff game in overtime, though the Penguins did go 7-5 in his 12 postseason overtime appearances.
Regardless of who scores the goal, the Penguins would like to be successful in their next overtime game. It's been a while.
They haven't won an overtime playoff game at home in five years, and they know that must change.
“I think it's tough to go back a number of years and see what the mindset was in each of the games and years,” Bylsma said.
It's not tough to see that overtime has been a problem for the Penguins.
Josh Yohe is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @JoshYohe_Trib.
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