The Panthers scored so many goals over the past few games, if they let up a bit in the third period, all would be OK.
On Saturday night against Pittsburgh, their margin of error was much lower.
And it cost them.
The Penguins bounced back from a two-goal deficit to come back and beat the Panthers 3-2 in overtime in front of 20,295 — the new third-largest home crowd in franchise history.
Although the Panthers’ five-game winning streak is over, they now have a six-game point streak going as they picked up a point in the loss.
“We can’t sit back the way we did because they will take advantage of it,’’ defenseman Alex Petrovic said. “We have to brush this one off. ... We have to bounce back, get ready for the next one.’’
Those who packed the Sunrise arena saw their team bring the play to the Penguins, taking a 2-0 lead midway through the third period.
Only Pittsburgh kept coming and eventually tied the score when Sidney Crosby had a long Kris Letang shot deflect off his body and get past Roberto Luongo.
In overtime, Jussi Jokinen was nabbed for hooking eight seconds in, and the Penguins had a 4-on-3 advantage that just too much.
Although Luongo made five saves in overtime, a wide-open point shot from Letang was too much to overcome.
“We played pretty well, were in command, but they’re a good team and found the goals,’’ said coach Gerard Gallant, whose team lost in Pittsburgh in similar fashion earlier this season as the Penguins got an overtime power-play winner.
“I thought we played a good game, and they found a way to come back and get two big points against us. It was disappointing. We played a good enough game to win. It happens.’’
The Panthers, who had scored a franchise-record five goals or more in four consecutive games, came after Pittsburgh and backup Jeff Zatkoff after the Penguins’ 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Friday.
Florida set a season-high with 20 shots on goal in the opening period yet couldn’t find the back of the net until Jokinen threw a shot toward the net six minutes into the second period, and the puck found a way through.
In the third, Jokinen forced the puck from Matt Cullen on a penalty kill and slipped a perfect pass to a streaking Sasha Barkov.
Barkov charged in on Zatkoff and scored a pretty goal despite Florida being short-handed.
Pittsburgh cut its deficit in half when Letang scored with Crosby getting the assist. Crosby ended with a goal and two assists; Letang two goals and an assist.
“It was a good game, and both goalies played well,’’ Barkov said.
▪ After missing his connection and getting stranded in Philadelphia on Friday, Brent Regner finally made it to South Florida on Saturday and made his NHL debut against the Penguins.
Regner, a 26-year-old defenseman, had his family fly in from Alberta, Canada, for the occasion.
Paired with Steven Kampfer — who was a midseason AHL call-up last year — Regner played 12:22 on 16 shifts.
▪ Defenseman Willie Mitchell, on the injured list since Jan. 22, missed his sixth consecutive game with what the team calls a lingering lower-body issue. Mitchell has been skating before team practices, but with the team not practicing on its short road trip, he won’t be on the plane to Detroit on Sunday.
▪ Shawn Thornton was back in the lineup Saturday after being Thursday’s healthy scratch. Rookie forward Corban Knight sat instead.