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Pens Points: The Defense Rests

Pens quest for three straight Stanley Cups comes to end after overtime loss to Capitals in Game 6. Backstrom misses Game 6 but Pens cannot take advantage. Teammates rallied around Murray after father’s death. For many young Penguins, this is their first taste of playoff disappointment. Letang takes blame for Game 5 loss, responds with only goal in Game 6.

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Six Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

For the last 695 days, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been Stanley Cup champions. That run came to an end on Monday night following a heartbreaking 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Kris Letang scored in the second period to tie the game at 1-1, but it was Evgeny Kuznetsov scoring in overtime to send the Capitals to their first Eastern Conference Final in 20 years. [Pensburgh]

For the first time since April 24, 2015, the Penguins have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Get Your Morning Going with Today’s Pens Points

There have been many complaints about the performance of Derick Brassard during his time in Pittsburgh which raises the question if the Penguins would have been better off with another piece the Senators may have been offering up. [Pensburgh]

Another player who took a lot of criticism during the season was goaltender Matt Murray. It was a hard season for Murray as he battled through inconsistency and the death of his father in January. Luckily, Murray had the support of his teammates and the entire Penguins organization during the hardest moments of his young career. [ESPN]

One opportunity the Pens make regret not taking advantage of in Game 6 was the absence of Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom who missed the game due to an upper body injury in Game 5. Backstrom was photographed walking into the arena before the game with his right hand heavily bandaged. [Trib Live]

For a handful of players on the Penguins roster, this series defeat marks the first time at the NHL level they have to deal with a disappointing end to a season such as this one. Guys like Murray, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary, Jake Guentzel, and a few more only know winning the Stanley Cup as NHL players. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Rick Tocchet won three Stanley Cups as a member of the Penguins, one as a player and two as a coach. Now as the head coach of the Arizona Coyotes, Tocchet remains loyal to the black and gold as a fan from afar, watching his former team take a run at history. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Kris Letang had a game to forget in the Penguins Game 5 loss in Washington. He shouldered the blame for the team’s third period collapse on Saturday and responded with the Penguins only goal during Game 6, a bullet from the point to tie the game in the second period. [Trib Live]

NHL News and Notes

The NHL can deny the effect playing the game has on the long term health of player’s brains until they’re blue in the face. One thing they cannot deny however, is former players being at the forefront of the latest concussion research. [Sports Illustrated]

Attempting a joke on Twitter can give you viral fame, but it can also end with you in a pile of ash. The Montreal Canadiens are now apart of the latter after being completely roasted by Brad Marchand following an attempt at a licking joke on Monday. [Sporting News]

Nathan Walker became the first Australian born player to play in the Stanley Cup playoffs on Monday night when he replaced the injured Nicklas Backstrom. Walker also became the first Australian born player to record a point in the playoffs with his primary assist on the Capitals’ opening tally. []

Stanley Cup Playoff Scores

Washington Capitals 2, Pittsburgh Penguins 1 (Washington wins 4-2)

Nashville Predators 4, Winnipeg Jets 0 (Series tied 3-3)