PITTSBURGH — Ugly. The Pittsburgh Penguins had a chance to vanquish the hapless New York Rangers who were playing out the season but instead chucked and gaffed their way into a point. It wasn’t as if New York didn’t give the Penguins plenty of space and opportunity to make it a laugher. However, the Penguins were far more generous with the puck. If not for a furious rally by the Penguins Batman-Robin duo–Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel–to tie the game and earn the point, the story might be much different.
It was Guentzel’s 40th goal and Crosby’s 100th point.
In the final game of the regular season, the Penguins salvaged third place in a 4-3 OT loss to the New York Rangers, which means a date with the New York Islanders in Round One. A loss would have meant a Thunderdome type Round One with the Washington Capitals. One team may have left that series but no winners would have emerged from a bruising, emotional opening round.
However, it did not appear the Penguins were much motivated by the daunting task of meeting Washington. The Penguins created six takeaways in the first period, including four at the New York blue line which extended offensive pressure. Unfortunately for the Penguins, their second line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel also played the puck like a hot potato at the New York blue line and were directly responsible for three giveaways of their own.