For the second consecutive season, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be spectators of the Stanley Cup playoffs, having fallen short of the postseason by three points.

Last year, the Penguins missed out by one point, ending their streak of 16 consecutive trips to the playoffs.

The Penguins’ underwhelming power play, inability to protect leads, struggles during 3-on-3 overtime, shaky goaltending and a surplus of shorthanded goals allowed (among other things) led to plenty of winnable contests slipping through their fingers this season.

Glaring examples of the aforementioned tendencies are embedded throughout the Penguins’ just-completed 2023-24 campaign, which deprived the club of much-needed points.

1. April 8, 3-2 OTL at Toronto

Before their playoff hopes were dashed Tuesday thanks to Washington triumphing over Philadelphia, the Penguins had done a commendable, albeit last-second job of forcing themselves back into contention. The club went 8-1-3 from March 24-April 15, collecting critical points and putting together their most impressive stretch of the year.

But within their overall solid play over that span, the club’s ugly habits were still visible.

The Penguins’ power play went 0 for 5 on April 8 at Toronto, failing to be a difference-maker in a close contest, before Jake McCabe beat Alex Nedeljkovic for the game-winning score 90 seconds into overtime.

2. March 30, 4-3 shootout loss at Columbus

A late-season draw against the Eastern Conference cellar dweller Columbus Blue Jackets was a prime opportunity to secure two points.

Instead, the Penguins blew a two-goal third-period lead en route to a shootout loss.

Rickard Rakell made the score 3-1 with 11:01 left in regulation, but the Penguins allowed a goal to the Blue Jackets just nine seconds later and the game-tying tally less than three minutes after that.

The club survived an overtime period, but Damon Severson won the game for the Blue Jackets in the shootout.

3. March 24, 5-4 OTL at Colorado

In one of the Penguins’ most egregious losses of the year, they led the Avalanche 4-0 early in the second period but squandered their advantage from there. Colorado seized control, tying the score with 4:38 left in regulation on Nathan MacKinnon’s 44th goal of the year.

Jonathan Drouin won it for the Avalanche in overtime, scoring his second goal of the night 54 seconds into the extra period.

That contest marked the beginning of the Penguins’ eventual 8-1-3 performance leading into their elimination from the postseason.

4. March 2, 4-3 loss at Calgary

In the same vein as their crumbling at Colorado later in the month, the Penguins were unable to protect a two-goal lead in the third period with about 10 minutes left.

Ahead 3-1, the Penguins allowed two Flames goals 32 seconds apart, tying the game.

Then, in the final minute of regulation, Yegor Sharangovich capitalized on a bad turnover between Ryan Graves and Kris Letang, firing a wrister past Tristan Jarry for the game-winner.

5. Feb. 18, 2-1 loss vs. Los Angeles

Sidney Crosby scored his 31st goal of the year in the first period on the power play and after that, a sort of stalemate ensued, with the Penguins leading 1-0 in the third period.

But with just over six minutes to play, Adrian Kempe tied the game.

Then, with 3:10 remaining, Kempe scored the game-winner shorthanded.

Pittsburgh had four more power-play tries after Crosby’s goal but came up empty on each opportunity.

6. Jan. 26, 3-2 shootout loss vs. Florida

The ineptitude of the Penguins’ power play was on full display in late January vs. Florida, as the club went just 1 for 8 on the man-advantage.

Evgeni Malkin tied the game with 42 seconds left in regulation but after a draw in overtime, Sam Reinhart won it for Florida in the shootout.

7. Jan. 20, 3-2 loss at Vegas

Following an impressive 3-0 win at home against Seattle, the Penguins had four days off before a meeting in Las Vegas with the Golden Knights.

The club built a 2-0 lead heading into the third period but allowed three straight goals to Vegas in the final 20 minutes of play.

8. Dec. 2, 4-3 shootout loss vs. Philadelphia

The first of back-to-back one-goal losses the Penguins suffered to the Flyers in early December, this contest at PPG Paints Arena saw the club relinquish a 2-1 lead in the third period on a shorthanded goal by Scott Laughton.

Philadelphia then took the lead with about six minutes to play.

After the Penguins pulled Tristan Jarry, Jake Guentzel managed to tie the game with 21 seconds left.

Overtime did not yield a winning goal, but the Sean Couturier earned the Flyers an extra point in the shootout.

The Penguins went 0 for 5 on the power play.

Two nights later, Couturier lifted Philadelphia over the Penguins again, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime.

9. Oct. 30, 4-3 loss to Anaheim

In one of the more deflating losses of the year, albeit during the season’s first month, the Penguins allowed a game-winning shorthanded goal to Mason McTavish with only 13 seconds left in the game.

The Penguins were working a 5-on-3 power play, when just as it ended, the Ducks broke up a pass in the offensive zone.

McTavish, jolting out of the penalty box, received it and beat Jarry with a wrister.

10. Oct. 10, 4-2 loss vs. Chicago

The Penguins’ 2023-24 opener, featuring the NHL debut of teenage phenom Connor Bedard, proved to be an early sign of bad things to come.

They built a 2-0 lead over the Blackhawks before allowing four unanswered goals and going 0 for 2 on the power play.

Justin Guerriero is a TribLive reporter covering the Penguins, Pirates and college sports. A Pittsburgh native, he is a Central Catholic and University of Colorado graduate. He joined the Trib in 2022 after covering the Colorado Buffaloes for Rivals and freelancing for the Denver Post. He can be reached at