As we saw yesterday, May 4 has historically been a pretty good day in Penguins’ history. We saw Martin Straka in 1999 scoring a huge Game 7 goal to help the bankrupt Pens sink the No. 1 seed New Jersey Devils in the first round. And Patric Hornqvist provided one of the best moments in PPG Paints Arena history scoring an overtime goal on Braden Holtby to give Pittsburgh a 3-1 series lead over the Capitals on May 4, 2016.
May 5 hasn’t really been as kind, with Pittsburgh 3-4 all time on this day, including two overtime losses and a crucial 6-3 loss last year in a pivotal Game 5 with Washington.
But one of those wins was worth remembering, with Chris Kunitz scoring in overtime on May 5, 2013 to give the Pens a 2-1 series lead over the New York Islanders.
It’s interesting how much this goal looked like Kunitz’s other playoff OT goal — the 2017 double OT Game 7 Eastern Conference Finals goal. Kunitz finds that soft spot in the slot, Sidney Crosby finds him with a pass, a quick high shot gets fired on net, and boom. Game over. Very cool to see it previewed in 2013.
This Game 3 was wild. The Pens fell behind 2-0 early as Marc-Andre Fleury surrendered goals just 1:43 and 5:41 into the game. Pittsburgh would rally to score the next four goals to take a 4-2 lead into the third period. The Penguins would blow that lead though, with Kyle Okposo scoring short-handed and John Tavares then tying the game midway through the third, to send this to overtime.
With the series at 1-1, this OT was obviously very critical after the Islanders earned a split in Pittsburgh. Crosby drew a penalty using his speed, forcing Brian Strait to hold him. Then, on the ensuing power play, Crosby found Kunitz in the highlight above for the game-winning goal. It was Crosby’s second game back from a broken jaw (as you can see from the featured image with that lower jaw protector shield on his helmet). Sid notched three assists in this game in the win.
This was a classic early-2010’s Penguins playoff game: less than great goaltending, a general indifference to playing defense, falling behind early, and just outscoring any and all problems that they ran into. The stars shined bright with Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang combining for seven assists on the night.
Pittsburgh would drop Game 4, but it went onto win Games 5 and 6 to eliminate the Islanders and move on to a second round opponent in Ottawa that it would knock out in five games.