In a short five-game series, there’s not a lot of room for error.
The Penguins found that out on Saturday night in Toronto, dropping the first game of their Qualifying series against the Canadiens.
Trailing 2-0, the Penguins rallied back, forcing overtime.
In overtime, what appeared to be a routine breakout for the Canadiens turned badly very quickly, and before you could blink your eyes, it was 3-2 Montreal and the Penguins now need to win 3 out of 4 games in one week’s time.
What happened so fast?
With three players in their own end, the Canadiens led the breakout. Just on raw numbers alone, things don’t feel dire for Pittsburgh even if you can’t see the other side of the ice.
You’re talking two Canadiens vs. four Penguins on the other side of the ice!
As the Canadiens make entry into the offensive zone, the Penguins still have a numbers advantage, now five vs. three.
As Penguins defenders Jack Johnson and Justin Schultz retreat back towards their own red line, Teddy Blueger is out to the left staying with Tomas Tatar.
In a matter of no time, BIG TROUBLE. Both Johnson and Shultz were caught below their own red line as the puck came back out towards the slot.
Zack Aston-Reese and Brandon Tanev both found themselves flat-footed looking back at the puck floating towards the other Canadiens players.
As Jeff Petry skates into possession of the puck, Tanev goes down in attempts to block the puck, but Petry curls the puck around his diving body.
It’s generally not a good sign that both Penguins defensemen are still below the red line and below the goal at this point.
After Petry curled the puck and dragged it around Tanev, a quick release beat Matt Murray clean and just like that — 3-2 Canadiens, that’s your game.
The Penguins now face a challenge of clawing back to win 3 out of 4 games within the next week.
It will be an interesting dynamic that we have never seen, with games being played in the same arena each night, no travel, no flights, no hotel changes, and no home ice.