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Penguins Postgame Chat: Pens Clinch Playoff Spot, Crosby & Guentzel Shine



The Pittsburgh Penguins got off to a great start. They led 2-0, were controlling the play, and it looked like they might skate the New York Islanders out of the barn and down the rocky terrain of 5th Avenue.

Funny how these Penguins work.

After a hyper first period, they took a nap for most of the second. After 16 minutes of the second period, the Islanders controlled the period shot clock 19-3. If not for one bad bounce and the quick-strike first line, the game would have been much different.

But, it was the Penguins who were opportunistic.

Sidney Crosby set up Jake Guentzel, who converted a two-on-one midway through the period. Despite the sleepy demeanor and play, the Penguins led 3-1 and had time to regroup for the third.

“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 and 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.”

The Penguins only zipped 26 shots on Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin and two on the empty net, but Crosby hammered a close-ranger slapshot off Sorokin to finish a two-on-none for a 4-1 lead.

The Penguins, led by Crosby, resuscitated their waning game for the third period. Crosby even earned a roughing penalty early in the third period to serve notice to his team and opponent of what was to come. The Penguins puck control was again sharp, and scoring chances followed.

“What I love about the group we have, no one is ever looking for excuses,” head coach Mike Sullivan said. “Through suspensions, illnesses, the COVID stuff…no one looks for excuses.”

Crosby had three points (1-2-3) and Guentzel had four points, including two goals. The Pittsburgh Penguins win not only clinched a playoff berth, but put them five points ahead of the Washington Capitals, who lost to Toronto, 7-3 on Thursday night. Washington has two games in hand, but the Penguins again control their fate, regarding third place in the Metro Division.

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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.

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7 months ago

So why is Crosby still in the game when it’s 4-1 with 4 minutes left. Then again with 2 + minutes left ? Injury risk vrs empty net goals ? Where’s the coach. Isn’t that when the 4th line plays. ?

7 months ago

Congrats! I have to admit at the beginning of the season with Philly getting all those players, Islanders getting Lee back and Pens keeping Jarry I really didn’t think the Pens would make the playoffs. I also thought Sully would be fired by mid-season.
Pleasant surprise and any advance in the playoffs is extra fun for me.

Mark Fisher
Mark Fisher
7 months ago
Reply to  Wasnt

I’m with you. I thought fringe playoff team at best before the season started. Glad to be wrong.


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