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Oh, So Close: Panarin’s OT Goal Ends Penguins’ Season

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The Pittsburgh Penguins’ season ended in Madison Square Garden Sunday night.

One of the most successful eras in franchise history almost certainly did, too.

The New York Rangers’ 4-3 overtime victory in Game 7 of their opening-round playoff series secured New York’s spot opposite Carolina in Round 2, and gave the Penguins their fifth consecutive series loss.

Artemi Panarin scored the series-winner at 4:46 of the extra period, beating Tristan Jarry with a wrist shot from just below the top of the right circle nine seconds before a holding minor called on Brock McGinn was to expire.

The defeat snapped the Penguins’ run of six consecutive Game 7 victories on the road.

The game likely marked the final time that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will be teammates, because the latter two are eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer.

Although both have shown interest in returning, it seems unlikely that the Penguins will have the salary-cap space needed to retain both.

What’s more, since the Penguins — who won Stanley Cups in 2009, 2016 and 2917 with Crosby, Malkin and Letang at the core of their roster — haven’t won a series since eliminating Philadelphia in the opening round in 2018, GM Ron Hextall might decide this offseason is the right time to overhaul his roster.

Simply tweaking it over the past five years hasn’t gotten the franchise close to its consistently stated objective of winning another Cup.

That’s an issue for management to address in coming weeks and months; for now, the Penguins must try to cope with the frustration of dropping a series in which they had a 3-1 lead in games and a 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard in the second period of Game 6.

Knowing that they also failed to protect a similar advantage against the Rangers en route to a second-round loss in 2014 will hardly salve their disappointment.

The Penguins actually had something close to a full lineup, as Rickard Rakell, Jarry and Crosby all returned to active duty after being sidelined by injuries.

The Penguins had a chance to take a 1-0 lead during an extended flurry in the New York zone about seven minutes into the first period, but Rangers goalie Igor Shesterkin made a series of excellent stops, including one on McGinn from in front.

Play then moved to the other end, with the Rangers getting a two-on-one break and Chris Kreider beating Jarry from the right dot at 7:36 after taking a cross-ice feed from Mika Zibanejad.

The Penguins had a chance to pull even when Panarin was penalized for slashing at 11:05, but could not convert.

They nearly got a tying goal with 6 1/2 minutes to go before the first intermission, however, when Marcus Pettersson’s shot from the slot eluded Shesterkin but caromed off the left post.

The Penguins had yet another quality opportunity when Danton Heinen and Jeff Carter had a two-on-one break at 14:48, but Heinen’s shot from inside the left circle sailed over the net.

Heinen redeemed himself quickly, however, scoring during a power play at 18:51, after Jacob Trouba — remember him? — was assessed a double-minor for smacking Mike Matheson in the face with his stick and drawing blood.

The power play was typically lackluster until the second unit generated pressure that resulted in Heinen’s goal, which he scored from the right side of the crease. Play initially continued, but the goal was awarded after a video review by the NHL situation room.

Carter and Evan Rodrigues got the assists on Heinen’s goal, his third of the series.

The Penguins’ commitment was evident early in the second, when Jason Zucker and Crosby gave up their bodies to block shots. Both hobbled to the bench in obvious pain after doing so.

Those blocks sandwiched a solid penalty-kill that was highlighted by a superb glove save by Jarry on Adam Fox.

Those sacrifices were rewarded at 10:18, when Jake Guentzel made it 2-1 with a spectacular display of foot-hand-eye coordination.

With the Penguins on a power play, Guentzel kicked the puck into the air, then swatted into the net as Shesterkin was about to glove it for his eighth of the series.

The goal was confirmed after a lengthy video review; assists went to Bryan Rust and Crosby.

The Penguins’ lead lasted just 65 seconds, however, as a K’Andre Miller shot hit Matheson’s skate and skidded across the goal line behind Jarry.

Rodrigues, whose ill-conceived roughing minor in the second period revived the Rangers, restored the Penguins’ lead with a breathtaking effort at 17:24.

The Penguins were about to finish killing a cross-checking minor to Rust when Rodrigues intercepted a Filip Chytil pass inside their blue blue, then outraced Miller into the New York end before flipping a backhander past Shesterkin.

The puck entered the net as Rust’s minor was expiring.

It was Rodrigues’ third goal of the series. And possibly the most important of his career.

The Penguins had an opportunity to pad their lead when Artemi Panarin high-sticked Letang at 8:08 of the third, but the Rangers got the best chance during those two minutes, as Jarry was forced to stop a Tyler Motte breakaway.

The man-advantage ended prematurely when Carter was sent off for tripping at 9:28, and the Penguins made it through New York’s subsequent try with the extra man unscathed.

The Penguins fended off the Rangers’ bid to tie until 14:15, when Mika Zibanejad threw a high shot past Jarry from inside the right circle to force overtime.

And set the stage for Panarin to end the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season.

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Paul
Paul
1 month ago

Igor > Trish. #ToldYaSo

Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Igor got played to even by our 3rd stringer
Tristan jarry playin his first game in a month on a broken foot and our whole team in front of him beat up and we barely lost a tight game in OT

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

Not much difference between the All-Star and the third-stringer, huh? (DeSmith 0-0/.941, Dominque 3-3/.898, Jarry 0-1, .867.)

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Chase Cranson
Chase Cranson
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Paul so do we need a new goal keeper

Pat
Pat
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

But ya lost, and this ain’t playing with horseshoes or hand grenades!

Wasnt
1 month ago

Not saying that Sully might get fired but didn’t Dam Bylsma lose a bunch

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Wasnt

How ’bout they retroactively fire Jim Rutherford and request a do-over instead?

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
1 month ago

Rangers dirty play gave them the advantage as they knocked out our players (Rakell, DeSmith, dumoulin, Crosby, Boyle) BUT lest y’all say I’m being biased This penguins team (even battered and beaten and with a 3rd string AHL goalie) I believe was not Stanley cup winning caliber… don’t kill me pens fans… let me explain… If we won this series I believe we would have beaten Carolina and lost to BOS/TBL in the conference final, which is amazing considering all this team has been through… but I don’t believe a Stanley cup winning team blows 2-0 leads in games 5/6… Read more »

Pat
Pat
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

Just because the rangers beat your guys down, don’t mean they played “dirty”… How about winning a game with a 2 goal lead instead of crying in your wheaties how “dirty” the rangers played…I mean, damn, I thought you Pittsburgh guys were tough? This is playoff hockey! Jiminy crickets..

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat

Yes, they did play dirty. It was obvious that they targeted Crosby, Guentzel and Rakell from the first shift. That’s what teams with Neanderthal head coaches and loser traditions do.

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Pat
Pat
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

So I guess shitsburgh can’t be lesser teams then, right? 🤣

Konner
1 month ago
Reply to  Pat

You must be as stupid as you sound Rangers didn’t only cheat in the seventh game they had help from the refs they were not letting Pittsburgh win that helmet that got pulled off of Patterson behind the net should have been a penalty but instead it left Pittsburgh short-handed also the hit on Crosby To The Head should have been a penalty and a fine the Rangers philosophy is if you can’t win cleanly cheat

SAQ
SAQ
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

Spoken like a true loser…nothing dirty, just weak players. Cindy fake concussion because he would never been cleared to play with his history, especially for a round 1 playoff series, he wouldn’t risk his future for that. DeSmith probably hurt himself grabbing his water bottle, no one ever touched him. Try watching a game and at least know what you’re talking about, Boyle took a cheap shot at Trouba and tried to run him behind the net and crashed himself into the boards and knocked himself out of the series. The new group cares less about your management, Burke is… Read more »

Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
1 month ago

Random thought
Trouba had high hits (code for possible head shots) on 3 pens in this series
Guentzel, Crosby, and matheson
I despise that dude

And did anyone else see trouba hit Sid up high again in this game when 87 tried to drive to the net? He made his head snap back… wow trouba sure learned that lesson that the nhl dept of player safely has failed to teach him for the last 3 seasons…
How many players has he hit high in his career??? Sheeeeesh

Uros
Uros
1 month ago
Reply to  Brian Johnston

Now that you say it I think I saw Lindgren delivering that hit on Crosby, but maybe I’m wrong. Another classy dude. It takes nothing away from Trouba who is just a goon. And don’t forget Lafreniere taking off Pettersson’s helmet with a bear hug to create space for the tying goal. Rangers are all classy hockey players.

Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
1 month ago
Reply to  Uros

How did I forget that headlock that led to helmet removal that led to a temporary 5-4 that led to a structural breakdown for the pens that led to the game tying goal for NYR….
Sigh…

DiegoPittFan
DiegoPittFan
1 month ago

Appreciated the “core era” but Excited to see it end. Pens will be better next season without Malkin and Letang.

jackw
jackw
1 month ago

If now is the time to “overhaul” the roster, the first guy that needs to go is Sullivan. It’s ridiculous to read so much praise heaped on him when the Penguins were beating up on cellar dwellers, and then blaming everyone BUT Sullivan for loss after loss ever since 2017. If you “overhaul” this lineup then I don’t know why Crosby wouldn’t ask to be traded to Montreal to finish his career. Seriously. The second you walk Malkin out the door, not to mention Letang as well it’s over. It will be a struggle just to make the playoffs. That’s… Read more »

Cal
Cal
1 month ago

4 failed attempts in a row. This is not working.

Dave Heyl
Dave Heyl
1 month ago

I can’t believe these comments. Yes it is probably the end of an era, all good/great runs do. I thought Pens outclassed the Rangers & how many teams make it to a game 7 with their third string goalie? While I am sad of the outcome this team should make us all proud for the fight they put up. I hope Sully is around for what is next because there will be a lot of pain before the gain.

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

Note that these jamokes who want Sully fired have no real solutions. It’s a wonder his team got this far with an average D corps and average goaltenders and a ridiculous number of injuries (as usual).

Brian Johnston
Brian Johnston
1 month ago
Reply to  Dave Heyl

Finally someone with a rational mind

Uros
Uros
1 month ago

Congratulations to Matheson on his hat trick. Congratulations to Jarry on his hat trick of high glove goals. Congratulations to those that thought he should play, probably ruining him even further for the future. Congratulations to Sully for putting together a 2nd line that has never played together. No worries, they’ll get going by game 9. Congratulations to management that didn’t look for goalies or D men, but went for scoring help. And another huge thumbs up to management and the media who created the atmosphere around Letang and Malkin as if they were the ones dragging this team down.… Read more »

Paul
Paul
1 month ago
Reply to  Uros

Bet they win this series with Gibson between the pipes. I know somebody who lobbied for him before the last two trade deadlines. Hey, wait — that was me! (Oh, I wanted another d-man, too . . .)

Last edited 1 month ago by Paul
Pat
Pat
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

Bet ya you can’t!

Mike8
1 month ago

So all off the penguins crying and dirt bag plays caught up with them GOOD! Rangers probaly wont win second round just glad dont have to listen to cry baby pitt fans make excuses for there dirty team. You had refs on your side and still lost dooch bags

Crosby32746@yahoo.com
Crosby32746@yahoo.com
1 month ago

Dave great wrap up!

Although I do not think it will be Hextall making changes this summer. Fenway Sports Group, you are now on the clock!

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