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Five former Penguins who are still impacting the 2022 playoffs

Ian Cole scored a big playoff goal. Patric Hornqvist pestered the Capitals. What is this, 2017?

New York Rangers v Carolina Hurricanes - Game One
Ian Cole celebrates his goal 3:12 into overtime against the New York Rangers on May 18.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

A member of the Penguins’ back-to-back Cup runs finally got that long-awaited overtime goal against the New York Rangers.

It may have come three days and 42 minutes too late, but who’s counting?

Cole’s strike for the Carolina Hurricanes, three minutes and 12 seconds into overtime on May 18, secured Carolina’s 2-1 comeback win— and handed the New York Rangers their first loss since they rattled off three straight victories to knock the Penguins out of the first round.

This marked the second postseason goal of Cole’s NHL career. You might remember the first, which took place on June 6, 2016, during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Ian Cole isn’t the only ex-Penguin still kicking in the 2022 NHL playoffs, and that’s not even mentioning those benched from scratches or injuries (among them Jack Johnson and Derick Brassard.)

Cody Ceci (Penguins career: 2020-21) put up two assists in the Penguins’ 2021 postseason, including setting up Jason Zucker for a go-ahead third-period goal in the Penguins’ win-or-die Game 6 against the Islanders on May 26. (The Penguins died anyway.)

Ceci is enjoying the most productive postseason of his NHL career in 2022.

Not only has he been playing top-line minutes with the Edmonton Oilers, but he racked up six points (one goal, five assists) in six games against the LA Kings in the first round. The first playoff goal of his NHL career stood as the decider of Edmonton’s 2-0 Game 7 shutout.

Josh Archibald (Penguins career: 2015-16 to 2017) was a 2011 Penguins draft pick and a fringe NHL player during the Penguins’ two championship runs. He played four games during the 2017 run and lifted the Cup with the team in Nashville.

After being diagnosed with myocarditis, a COVID-19 related heart condition, in October, Archibald played just eight regular-season games with the Edmonton Oilers this season.

But he’s skated in every game of the Oilers’ playoff run so far, averaging 12 minutes a night and assisting during an 8-2 blowout of the Kings in Game 3 of the first round on May 6.

This wasn’t just your average helper. Archibald fed Ryan Nugent-Hopkins on a spin-o-rama.

Erik Gudbranson (Penguins career: February to October, 2019) gave the Penguins a spark of hope for their 2019 postseason on April 12, 2019. After the Penguins suffered a painful Game 1 overtime loss to the Islanders, Gudbranson hammered in a shot from the point to open scoring in Game 2.

Gudbranson hasn’t scored since this lone goal of his postseason NHL career, but he and Nikita Zadorov have been one of the most dominant possession defensive pairs of the 2022 playoffs for the Calgary Flames.

According to Natural Stat Trick, Gudbranson/Zadorov lead the NHL (among D-pairs to skate for at least 90 minutes together this postseason) by controlling almost 62% of scoring chances.

Patric Hornqvist (Penguins career: 2015-16 to 2019-20) carved his name into Penguins history during the team’s 2017 Stanley Cup Final. You may remember this bank goal off the back of Nashville’s Pekka Rinne.

Now, Hornqvist is battling on the Florida Panthers’ fourth line.

When Florida’s first-round series with the Washington Capitals was tied at 2-2, Hornqvist scored on a breakaway to help the Panthers recover from an early 3-0 deficit in Game 5.

This goal, his 28th in 104 career postseason games, helped spark Florida to a 5-3 come-from-behind win on May 11. (And reminded us of another memorable Hornqvist goal against the Capitals.)

In the end, the Penguins may be out of the 2022 postseason. But with Ian Cole scoring big goals, and Patric Hornqvist upending the Capitals, all you have to do is squint, and it’ll feel just like 2017 again.