Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has not missed the playoffs since his rookie year with the ill-fated, veteran-heavy 2005-06 team, which lost Mario Lemieux to mid-season retirement, burned through coach Eddie Olczyk and cost Hall of Fame GM Craig Patrick his job. Since then, Crosby has played in every postseason. Kris Letang arrived a year later and has never missed the playoffs.
The Penguins have achieved the longest-running active playoff streak in North American sports and the 10th longest in NHL history. They did so by punching their ticket with a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night.
Sidney Crosby had three points, including the game-winning goal.
Crosby spoke on a myriad of topics, from what it means to make the playoffs in 16 consecutive years to Jake Guentzel’s rise as one of the premier scoring wingers in the NHL.
“Every year is a challenge, and you need so many things to go right to give yourself an opportunity to play in the playoffs. And it’s not given to you–you see how tight the league is. It’s not easy,” Crosby said. “So you appreciate those opportunities. You work hard, and everybody works hard to give ourselves a chance to do that … but we’ve got some games here to keep playing the right way and build our game with class.”
Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang is among the NHL leaders in scoring by a defenseman. He has 63 points (8-55-63) in 72 games. However, the 34-year-old Letang does not have a contract with the Penguins beyond this season and is slated to become an unrestricted free agent.
PHN asked Letang if the uncertain future made this playoff appearance special or different.
“No,” he said flatly before getting into a more detailed answer about what the playoffs mean: another chance to win the Stanley Cup.
In November, the Penguins languished near the bottom of the Eastern Conference and the Metro Division. The playoffs were certainly in doubt, at least to those on the outside.
Not to Letang.
“(The playoffs) were still expected” Letang smiled at another chance to win the Stanley Cup. Perhaps his last chance with the Pittsburgh Penguins.