The Pittsburgh Penguins collapsed on Tuesday night, but it was only part of a more significant season collapse. The Washington Capitals wasted their chance to pass the Penguins and claim third place in the Metro Division, thus avoiding the Florida Panthers in Round One. The Carolina Hurricanes clinched the Metro by beating the New York Rangers. The Vegas Golden Knights needed a regulation win to control their playoff fate, but their shootout loss to Dallas means their longshot bid remains dependent on others. And Auston Matthews became the first American-born player to pop 60 goals.
It’s not a coincidence the Metro Division old guard–the Penguins and Capitals–are at the bottom. It shows how far the other teams have come and the inevitable slippage of teams with core players well past their 30th birthday. Welcome to the last phase. We knew it was here, but to watch it is another thing and no less shocking.
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: You know the rule, no one reads the postgame after a bad loss. So, here are the notes. Jason Zucker suffered a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return. Andy Saucier was the Penguins’ best player. He overturned two goals with offsides reviews. Connor McDavid had four points (1-3-4), and the Penguins were in the game until a third period collapse.
Video: The postgame comments said more than the words, and their words said a lot. They’re lost. Pittsburgh Penguins video postgame.
PHN+: More than words, the body language and the implications were yelling. Head coach Mike Sullivan said a mouthful, not in an angry, defiant way, but in a genuine way. The big question–are the Pittsburgh Penguins toast?
The Penguins canceled practice and media availability today.
Washington Hockey Now: Takeaways–The Capitals had a chance to claim third place. They faceplanted, too. WIthout Alex Ovechkin, the Islanders squashed the Washington Capitals 4-1.
NYI: Check out this ridiculous shortie by Casey Czikas against Washington. New York Islanders highlight.
The Carolina Hurricanes beat the New York Rangers 4-3 in regulation to win the Metro Division.
NHL News & National Hockey Now:
Vegas: Staying Alive. It wasn’t a regulation win that would have put control in their hands. Dallas needs just one more point in the remaining two games, but the Vegas Golden Knights lived to fight another day.
NHL.com: Auston Matthews became the first American-born player to hit 60 goals in a season. 60?! That’s an amazing season.
Colorado Hockey Now: The Western Conference favorite has a few essential players on the injury list, but getting Gabriel Landeskog back for Game 1 looks pretty good. Colorado Avalanche injury update.
Vancouver: With the Dallas win, the Canucks chances are done, but they beat Seattle 5-2. Vancouver Canucks –30–
And…from Sportsnet–How Wayne Gretzky was almost traded to the Detroit Red Wings instead of the LA Kings. I didn’t know this story. Wow.