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Remembering a Penguins Moment: Chris Kunitz, oh no

Looking back on the time Chris Kunitz nearly sent Pittsburgh into a collective cardiac episode in the Stanley Cup Final.

2016 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images

Watching the Colorado Avalanche close out the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6 to capture the Stanley Cup on Sunday night brought back many memories.

Much like the Pittsburgh Penguins back in 2016, the Avalanche failed to close out the series on home ice in Game 5 and needed to complete the job on the road. They did just that with a 2-1 victory in Tampa Bay in similarly dominating fashion to what the Penguins did six years prior.

While most of the memories from that night in San Jose were the good variety, there was one that likely still sends Penguins fans into a fit a rage every time they think about it.

That’s right, it’s Chris Kunitz passing up (pun intended) a wide open net on a 2-on-1 with Evgeni Malkin that could have given the Penguins a comfortable two goal cushion.

(Possible trigger warning)

Apologies if that clip sent anyone into a spiral, but it’s still enraging all these years later, and even though everything turned out just fine for the Penguins that night, in the moment, it was hard to fathom how Kunitz did not manage to score there.

In fact, it still melts the brain when trying to process how the puck did not end up in the net. What was going through Kunitz mind in the moment that led to that decision we may never know, but it remains baffling and always will.

Credit for Malkin for doing everything in his power to wrangle the unexpected pass and try to shove it home, but not even a player of his talent could make up for Kunitz brain fart.

As we all know now, the mistake by Kunitz mattered little in the grand scheme of things since the Penguins still won the game, and in turn, the Stanley Cup.

Everything looks better in hindsight, but in the moment, this miss surely seemed like a mistake that was going to come back and bite the Penguins in the most important game of that season.

This idea of looking back on specific moments from Penguins history was born out of a lull in hockey news cycle between the end of the Stanley Cup Final and the start of the offseason.

That lull will return once the draft and the free agent frenzy passes and we’ll need some fresh content ideas to get through the summer. So if there are other specific moments from the past (good or bad) you may like to re-live, drop them in the comments.