Kasperi Kapanen was benched, but he was hardly the only Pittsburgh Penguins player stuck in reverse. The Penguins struggled more against themselves than the New York Islanders yet somehow, someway, pulled out a 3-2 win over New York on Saturday.
The win was so ugly Rodney Dangerfield would have made jokes. Passes bounced off sticks as if the Penguins played with the silver-plated twig they awarded to Sidney Crosby in the pregame ceremony to honor his 1000th game. Passes were behind intended targets. Defensive positioning was a playground fire drill.
And yet the Penguins won, and by virtue of their two points in regulation, they pulled into a tie with Washington and New York for fourth place in the East Division. The Penguins have one game in hand on New York, but they have the fewest ROWs, so they’re still technically in a playoff spot, but would lose a tiebreaker if they play the same number of games.