Penguins-Blue Jackets, One Point Is Better Than None

Eric NaughtonCorrespondent IMarch 12, 2009

The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets in their third shootout in as many games.  

After Columbus scored 63 seconds into the third period, it looked as though the Penguins' win streak would end in convincing fashion.

Crosby and Malkin suddenly stepped up their play even before Gonchar's power play goal.  These two took the reins and started flying all over the ice.

The Pens exploded for three goals in first three minutes and 30 seconds of the third period.  The Blue Jackets responded by trying not to lose and managed to hold the Pens at bay for the remainder of the game.

Both goaltenders robbed the opposition of several goals in a game that easily could have posted 15 or more goals.

Marc-Andre Fleury was named the Player of the Game by Pittsburgh announcers Paul Steigerwald and former Penguin Bob Errey.

This is the point that I start to wonder.

I wonder why goaltending coach Gilles Meloche can't teach Fleury how to handle the puck behind the net.  Every time Fleury goes behind the net, I charge my portable defibrillator.

Fleury was fooled by a shot he thought would be deflected and mishandled a puck that led to the second goal for Columbus.

While Fleury made at least three miraculous saves, I wonder how he can get fooled by another five-hole shot in the shootout (coincidentally by Huselius, who scored the first shot that fooled Fleury).  

The Penguins managed a point in the contest and are currently the best team in the league with a 8-1-1 record over their last 10 games.

In other action, several teams had games whose results impact the playoff picture for the Penguins.

Montreal lost in overtime to the Islanders to maintain a one-point lead over Pittsburgh in the Eastern Conference standings.

Carolina lost to the Dallas Stars who desperately needed the win.  Carolina remains one point behind the Penguins along with the Rangers who edged Florida out of the top eight with their win against Nashville.

The aforementioned Florida Panthers lost to the Buffalo Sabres 3-1.  Both of these teams are very much in the hunt and the magic 92 points to make the playoffs might not be enough.

On a positive note for the Penguins, despite the snapping of their win streak, they came from behind again to force overtime.  It's gut-check time and the Penguins are proving they have the guts to stay in the game.  

This is playoff hockey and the Pens are showing the NHL that they are ready for the postseason.