Just like most Penguins fans today, I was hoping to wake up and realize that the series loss against Montreal was just a bad dream and that the games really begin this Saturday. But it’s not a bad dream, it’s reality. The Penguins season is officially over thanks to the 24th best team in the league this year.
It’s certainly not a good day to be a Penguins fan, but it could also be much, much worse. It wasn’t that long ago we were celebrating back-to-back Cups as Penguins fans. This is how most fans feel every year. And at least they have a one-in-eight chance of getting the first overall pick, which would be a pretty good consolation prize.
Here’s some links to start the official offseason for the Penguins.
The doom and gloom:
The final recap of the season from PensBurgh. Not the way we wanted it to end, and there’s plenty of blame to go around in this series. [PensBurgh]
This Post-Gazette article pinpointed the shift in momentum for the Penguins this season in the game just prior to the All Star Game against Philadelphia, in the Penguins lifeless 3-0 loss. It did seem like an uphill battle since that game for Pittsburgh. The article also points out the Penguins haven’t scored more than three goals in a playoff game in 14 games, dating back to the Penguins 8-5 victory defeating the Flyers in 2018. [PPG]
Ron Cook at the PPG had a pretty harsh story published soon after the Penguins loss. He mentions several other memorable collapses in Penguins history, but also points out that none of them were against a team as poor as this year’s Canadiens team. Hard to disagree with that statement after watching the Penguins fizzle out once again. [PPG]
Nobody was expecting the Canadiens to put up much of a fight in this series. But if there’s one thing about hockey, it’s that with proper structure and goaltending, any team could pull off an upset. The Miracle On Ice and the German men’s hockey team at the Olympics in 2018 was another perfect example that anything is possible. This Montreal team isn’t the same level as those two examples, but give them credit for playing a nearly flawless series against Pittsburgh. [The Hockey News]
If the Canadiens were going to advance past the Penguins, everyone obviously predicted it would be mainly because of Carey Price. And to the surprise of nobody, Price did just that. How good was he? His performance stacks up among one of the best ever for a goalie in a playoff series against Pittsburgh. [Trib Live]
The Silver Lining:
At least the Penguins weren’t the only team to lose to a 12 seed. The Edmonton Oilers bowed out with their loss to Chicago yesterday and join the Penguins with their focus for the number one pick in the upcoming draft. [Fansided]
Despite that being one of the more disappointing series in a long time for Pittsburgh, it may end up being a blessing if the Penguins manage to land the first overall pick in the draft lottery on Monday night. [Trib Live]
The Penguins and Oilers weren’t the only teams eliminated yesterday. The New York Islanders took care of business and eliminated the Florida Panthers with a 5-1 victory in Game 4. [Lighthouse Hockey]
Arizona allowed Nashville a chance to even the series at two games apiece after allowing the Predators to tie it late and force overtime, but the Coyotes eliminated Nashville five minutes into OT and advance to the next round of 16. [NHL]
The Columbus Blue Jackets thought they had their series against Toronto wrapped up after leading 3-0 with four minutes left in Game 4. But Toronto had other ideas and pulled off an incredible comeback. The Leafs scored two goals less than a minute apart and tied it with less than 30 seconds remaining before winning in overtime to stun the Blue Jackets and force a Game 5. [Pension Plan Puppets]
The Seattle Kraken haven’t even played a game yet in the NHL yet are already paving the way with the signing of play-by-play announcer Everett Fitzhugh, making him the first black full-time broadcaster in the NHL. [NHL]
And just like that, the playoffs began the same way as the season ended for Pittsburgh. Suddenly and disappointingly. This will be a very strange offseason for the Penguins. Be sure to check by PensBurgh regularly and keep up with the best online Penguins community. Thanks for stopping by and be safe everyone!