After Sunday’s 4-1 loss to the New York Islanders on home ice, the Pittsburgh Penguins are one loss away from first-round elimination.
We made it all the way until now before writing about this. Aren’t you proud of us?
The Pens lost a tight game in overtime for Game One when Josh Bailey’s rebound beat Matt Murray.
Sidney Crosby did not score in that game.
Game Two started much better, with deadline-pickup defender Erik Gudbranson scoring in the first period, but the Islanders responded with three goals to send the series back to Pittsburgh.
Sidney did not score in that game either.
Then, on Sunday, the Islanders ran roughshod over the Penguins with a 4-1 clobbering. Once again, Pittsburgh scored first, and once again it was their only goal of the game. Defender Jack Johnson had a particularly gnarly game: on ice for two Isles goals and committing a holding-the-stick penalty. Meanwhile, New York goalie Robin Lehner stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced. I don’t know if this stop counted, but it probably took Jedi training to do:
Oh, by the way, Sidney Crosby didn’t score in that game. He’s pointless in three games with six shots on goal. During five-on-five play he’s been on the ice for four Islanders goals and zero Penguins goals.
Forward Evgeni Malkin and defender Justin Schultz lead the Penguins with three points each. No Penguins player has more than one goal.
“You got to find ways to score goals this time of year,” Crosby told the press after the game, according to NHL.com writer Michelle Crechiolo. “It’s not easy but you’ve got to find a way to do it, and obviously we haven’t done a good enough job for the first three games.”
Though the Penguins have a modest advantage in shot attempts during five-on-five play (54.4 percent versus 45.6 percent, according to Natural Stat Trick), the Islanders narrow that gap with better shot quality, winning the expected-goal battle 50.5 to 49.5 percent.
Goals are 11 to 5 for New York.
In response, the Penguins community on Reddit has been, um, animated.
And somewhat existential:
Last year, Pittsburgh was eliminated by Washington in six games. They have not advanced past the second round since 2017, when I forgot what happened that year or the year before it.
Game Four is on Tuesday night in Pittsburgh. I’d watch.
Headline photo: Justin Berl
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