PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Coach Dan Bylsma, who has the Pittsburgh Penguins in contention for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference without stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, has agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2013-14.
Bylsma, 40, who led the Penguins to a Stanley Cup in 2009, has Pittsburgh just two points behind Philadelphia (88) in the Atlantic Division as play began on Wednesday. If the season ended on Tuesday night, the Penguins would be in the No. 4 spot in the East, and would have home-ice advantage for at least one round.
“Dan has very quickly established himself as one of the best coaches in the National Hockey League,” general manager Ray Shero said. “He has been a perfect fit for our organization since day one, and we look forward to having him leading our team for the next three seasons.”
The Penguins are without Crosby (concussion) and Malkin (knee), but have won two straight and have points in their last five games. A division title and the top seed in the East is within reach.
“I think what we’ve been able to accomplish so far his season,” Shero said, “even with players like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal out of the lineup for extended periods of time, is a testament to his coaching system, his adaptability, and his composure under pressure.”
Bylsma is 104-52-19 with the Penguins and has the highest winning percentage (.649) of any coach in franchise history. He also is tied with Scotty Bowman for the team record in playoff victories (23) and playoff series wins (five).
Bylsma, a native of Grand Haven, Mich., was named interim coach on Feb. 15, 2009. Last year, in his first full season, the Penguins went 47-28-7 for 101 points.
Pittsburgh plays host to Montreal on Saturday.