Connect with us

Penguins

Penguins Final Wrap: Were Those Penalties, & What the Hell Happened?!

Published

on

Pittsburgh Penguins, Madison Square Garden

NEW YORK  — It’s been 24 hours since the Pittsburgh Penguins did enough to win, but lost their third straight game, lost the series, and lost what was quite possibly the final chance for the core’s fourth Stanley Cup.

Like multiple-Cup winners Chicago Blackhawks and LA Kings before them, the Penguins have not won a playoff series since they were dethroned in 2018. Neither LA nor Chicago won a playoff series after being dethroned in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Add the Washington Capitals to the list of aging Stanley Cup winners who haven’t won a Round One series since being dethroned.

Reality trumps hope. Teams hanging on with great players in their mid-30s just don’t do well in the postseason. The teams in the second round are younger. The Tampa Bay Lightning are the slight exception, though Steve Stamkos and Victor Hedman are 32 and 31-years-old. Tampa Bay has a bevy of players in their mid-20s, too.

Crosby, 34, was the Penguins’ youngest of the top three centers.

It’s odd using past tense for the Penguins. Less than 24 hours after it came to a screeching halt, I’m home, there are no restaurants in my neighborhood open on Monday, and I haven’t shoved any tourists out of my way…yet.

Penalties, Officials

It was tough to see Alexis Lafreniere grab Marcus Pettersson’s helmet in real-time. Crosby was correct–that was the difference in the series.

Did the Penguins have chances to close out the Rangers before then? Yep. Game 6 will haunt them. However, in professional sports, the margins are so narrow that claiming one missed opportunity negates having one taken away is a bit disingenuous.

I certainly appreciated the thousands and thousands of Rangers fans who visited our site this week. Believe it or not, I received a couple of nice emails, albeit wanting to debate (Sorry, I don’t have that kind of time). The Rangers fans were salty over their late goal in Game 1 that was disallowed after a goalie interference challenge.

So, the three big moments were officials driven. Game 1. Game 5 when Sidney Crosby was elbowed. Game 7.

I’m with you, though perhaps with a bit different perspective. NHL officiating is frustrating. Why was Brock McGinn called for holding on the Rangers’ OT breakaway (correct call) but no penalty called when Evan Rodrigues had to use one hand on his shorthanded goal?

Why wasn’t Lafreniere penalized when he put Pettersson in a headlock in front of the nation? To answer our Rangers fans, no, it was certainly not interference on Pettersson.

The problem is–I don’t have good answers for you. Officials manage the game so that we don’t have 40 minutes in penalties every game, but in the process, they’re increasingly affecting the outcome.

I was impressed with Lafreniere’s extra-legal physicality. He’s adapting that part of his game well to the NHL. You’d love him on your team, hate him on the opponent. It’s up to officials not to let such a blatant cheat code work. That was a bush league move that worked.

Perhaps it’s time the Pittsburgh Penguins had a few players who knew how to play physical and extra-legal physical.

Lastly, the Game 1 goalie interference call was reasonably obvious. After one replay, I knew Toronto would take it off the board.

As frustrating as officiating was for the Penguins in Round One, it’s light years better than the waterskiing debacle of 2021. Montreal and the New York Islanders made a mockery of interference and hooking. They turned back the clocks to the worst era in hockey: the dead puck era.

It was a step forward to see interference and holding calls. Now, maybe we can work towards a bit more consistency. And, calling the bush-league stuff.

What Happened?!

The thing that has boggled me. How did the Pittsburgh Penguins seemingly do everything they needed to do yet lose?

They made Igor Shesterkin look human.

They dominated the puck. Shots. Scoring chances. All favored the Penguins.

Evan Rodrigues and Danton Heinen played some of their best hockey.

Even Kasperi Kapanen looked infinitely better than he looked a few weeks ago.

Yet somehow, they couldn’t slam the door on New York.

I don’t necessarily have good answers. The penalty kill was brutal, which kept New York in the games and series. The Penguins lacked that killer mojo or instinct they had in 2016 and 2017. They managed to get those big goals rather than give them up. The breaks went their way rather than against them.

I have no better answer than–that’s hockey.

It’s a shame that UFAs will walk, and that was our final look at them. It feels like the Penguins deserved better. I agree with Sidney Crosby on that, too.

It’s probably going to be a long time before the Penguins are Stanley Cup contenders. Maybe Ron Hextall can spin some magic this summer, and the Penguins will be refreshed and reborn with a big-name free agent and a slew of hungry bargain free agents.

Because of Sidney Crosby, it’s possible…but unlikely.

I’ll issue this challenge now. Pittsburgh will have to learn to like hockey, not parades. Love the game, not the result.

Or you’re not going to have much fun for a while.

Subscribe to PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

17 Comments
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
17 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Wasnt
4 months ago

Like Sid said they deserved better. This stings bad….real bad….like Katz never coming back bad 😞… LOL.
Now I’ll pick a random team like Carolina and hope they win it all. Go Jordan Staal!!

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
4 months ago

Geno will be back.

hockeyfan68
hockeyfan68
4 months ago

If geno doesn’t sign, I think he plays in Russia. Said in a press conference earlier this year doesn’t need money, wants to only play for Pitt.

Tom
Tom
4 months ago

Malkin, DeSmith, Domingue and Letang are gone, dommed by the blood moon.

joe
joe
4 months ago

Who wants to watch hockey when refs dictate games , games 5, games 6 and game 7 came down to complete bs calls and non calls. This will continue and probly get worst because non of these refs are held accountable. Some of these refs act like fans are there to see them, the hold puck drops up , constantly get in the way and call penaltys with no consistancy. I can careless about a team rebuilding for future success, I been a pen fan since the mid 80 s. I will not watch my team play there asses off… Read more »

Paul
Paul
4 months ago
Reply to  joe

It’s a tough ask of Pittsburgh fans to support this league and this product. They’ve been taken for granted too long. Maybe it’s time to change that.

Merg
Merg
4 months ago

Just as salty as u were the first night. Refs blessed u guys w 3 5-3s. 8 more pp. and ur announcers didn’t think that goal should of been overturned. 😘

Mike Donnelly
Mike Donnelly
4 months ago
Reply to  Merg

Why would you still be complaining over that? You didn’t get the goal but the collision likely contributed to knocking DeSmith out of the playoffs. You should be drinking wine, not sour grapes. Or perhaps you enjoy whine more than wine.

Paul
Paul
4 months ago
Reply to  Merg

The goal was overturned because it didn’t meet the requirements stated in the rule book. #Duh

Steve
Steve
4 months ago
Reply to  Merg

Yes, as breaks go, the Pens probably won that battle. Why they lost is easy. 1. Goaltending- hats off to Domingue for giving it a go. I mean that. 2. Their defense isn’t very good. Hats off to Petterson and Marino as well. 2 third pair guys giving it a go. 3. Carter,Malkin,Zucker, and Rakell are too old and didn’t generate enough secondary scoring to win. If the goalie was better, maybe what they did would have been enough. Please, I’m begging the media to stop whining about the officiating. Leave that to the young fans who really don’t understand… Read more »

Dave Heyl
Dave Heyl
4 months ago

Dan the playoffs are basically the Wild West. A team needs to take Justice into their own hands and establish a mentally of we can play this anyway you want. Take one of our players out, we take two of yours. If you want to skate , we will to. Playing the game the right way does not apply in the playoffs. This year, last year Islanders etc proved that.

trackback

[…] It’s been 24 hours since the Pittsburgh Penguins did enough to win, but lost their third straight game, lost the series, and lost what was quite possibly the final chance for the core’s fourth Stanley Cup. Dan Kingerski breaks down why the Penguins are not advancing.(Pittsburgh Hockey Now) […]

BobbyO
BobbyO
4 months ago

Interference references are hilarious…No one runs more picks and interference around net, face off dots and to slow up forecheck than Pens…they do it well granted but penalties nonetheless

Crazyhorse87
Crazyhorse87
4 months ago

The Pen’s kept playing games with men down, Rakell, Dumo, DeSmith, Crosby, Boyle, whom still did pretty good, considering the age factors of the two teams. 7 games were far better than I expected, so at least it was better than the usual early exits. I felt that if there was going to be an overtime in game 7 going into the 3rd period, I had that uneasy feeling the Rangers would win. I do remember when teams would get away with the helmet garbage during the regular season, so yeah, the Rangers will do anything to win, it’s like… Read more »

Vrp
Vrp
4 months ago

Read the NY papers and websites, and, it is obvious that the Penguins did not play the Rangers for seven games. Totally different stories. Totally different slants on calls and non-calls. Maybe the jaundiced eye is at work among fans and “reporters”.

rob perrella
rob perrella
4 months ago

the real DIFFERENCE in the series is that BOTH goaltenders (jarry,desmith) HARDLY PLYED IN THE SERIES! LOUIE DOMINGUE? you are kidding me !l ouie is a backup minor league goalie ! some of those so called great saves is where THE PUCK FOUND LOUIE! louie goes down way too early and he is extremely off balanced besides the fact he gives up way too many rebounds ! it is truly amazing that the penguins could extend the series to a game 7 in OT with a fifth string goalie !TRUTHFULLY 99% OF THE TIME any team that loses both goaltenders… Read more »

Scott
Scott
4 months ago

Goaltending was the difference in this series. We don’t want to say that because we have been saying that for a couple years, and the disparity in goaltending quality wasn’t as great this year as it was the prior 2 or 3 years. Still, Shesterkin played mostly OK, and by the end of the series was good. His .933 save percentage in Game 7 matches his percentage for the season. Domingue and Jarry were sub 900. With NHL average level goaltending, the Pens win that series.

Last edited 4 months ago by Scott