The Pittsburgh Penguins had every reason to be proud of their performance. They crushed the New York Islanders for most of 80 minutes. Everywhere but the scoreboard, anyway. New York shrugged off the Penguins domination and snagged a ghastly Tristan Jarry giveaway for a 3-2 double OT win at PPG Paints Arena.
Bewildering. Shocking. It could be crippling.
“I thought it was our best game, our most complete game of the series,” Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said.
But that doesn’t matter. At all.
“It doesn’t matter if we lose a game 10-0 or a game like tonight,” Bryan Rust said. “It’s the same mindset in the playoffs. You learn from it, you move on, you try and get better, and you try to just try and win the next one.”
I’m sure there has been domination and suffocation like this before. But probably not at PPG Paints Arena, or it is has been a long time. The Penguins took the puck from New York. And they took it back. And took it back time and again. The Penguins put on a skating clinic as they raced to the puck and the man.
That’s not a word that has been associated with the Pittsburgh Penguins in quite a while, but on Monday night, only New York goalie Ilya Sorokin stood between the Penguins and a complete blowout win.
But they didn’t finish it, and the loss isn’t the sunshine and rainbow sherbet some want it to be. There are things the Pittsburgh Penguins must learn how to do. Or perhaps it’s too late for that.
Of course, New York tied the game in the third period, as they’ve done in every game in which they trailed. The Penguins season hangs in the balance on Wednesday night in Game 6. They trail the series 3-2.