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Penguins Wrap: The End is Nigh; Crosby Does it Again



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, NHL rumors

When the Pittsburgh Penguins closed out March with a 4-3 shootout loss in Columbus after giving up two goals in the final 11 minutes of regulation, it seemed inevitable that their final few weeks of the 2023-24 would be an interminable slog.

Turns out they’ve been nothing of the sort.

That gut-punch of a defeat by the Blue Jackets has proven to be the fourth installment in the 10-game run without a loss in regulation (7-0-3) that lifted the Penguins into the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference playoff field going into Saturday’s games.

And while they hardly are a lock to qualify for the postseason, the Penguins have reclaimed control of their fate, which was all but inconceivable a short time ago.

Here’s a look at how the past seven days played out for them:


Tampa Bay reels off three unanswered goals in the third period before Michael Bunting puts the Penguins back in front to stay in a 5-4 victory at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins’ emotional level is rising in conjunction with their points total.

Mike Sullivan says the Penguins “just hung in there” en route to their victory against the Lightning.

The Penguins’ core veterans come up big against Tampa Bay.

Evgeni Malkin’s parents again are on hand at PPG Paints Arena.

Referee Steve Kozari is hospitalized after a violent collision with Lightning defenseman Hayden Fleury.

The Penguins reclaim a spot in the Eastern Conference playoff field.


Sidney Crosby deserves serious consideration in voting for the Hart Trophy, even if he’s unlikely to get it.

Detroit nudges ahead of the Penguins in the battle for the second wild-card playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.


The Penguins salvage a point, thanks to a third-period goal by Rickard Rakell, but fall to Toronto, 3-2, in overtime at Scotiabank Arena.

The Penguins deserved a better fate in the game against the Maple Leafs.

Mike Sullivan explains why Sidney Crosby wasn’t on the ice for the start of overtime.

Penguins players point to their 3-0-1 road trip earlier this month as the point at which they knew they were heavily involved in the playoff race. (+)

Valtteri Puustinen has not been as productive of late as he was earlier in the season.

The NHL honors Sidney Crosby as its No. 2 star of the week.


A few realities, good and bad, have emerged about this Penguins team.

Assessing the games remained for each team still chasing a playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.

Results of games around the Eastern Conference lead to the Penguins losing control of their playoff fate.

Two Pittsburgh Penguins draft choices sign amateur tryout agreements with their farm team in Wilkes-Barre.


Penguins players insist they’re having fun playing games in which the stakes are so high.

The play of Alex Nedeljkovic has been a major factor in the Penguins’ success of late. Can he continue to hold up under the demands of being their go-to-guy? (+)

Third-line center Lars Eller misses practice and Radim Zohorna is recalled from Wilkes-Barre.

Members of the NHL Players’ Association select Sidney Crosby as the most complete player in the league.


Erik Karlsson’s overtime goal gives the Penguins a 6-5 victory against Detroit, moving them one point ahead of the Red Wings in the playoff race.

Sidney Crosby scores one goal and sets up two others to lead the Penguins past the Red Wings — and move into 10th place on the NHL’s all-time points list.

Sidney Crosby’s teammates marvel at his accomplishments, which include recording his 1,000th career assist on Erik Karlsson’s game-winner against Detroit.

Young defensemen Jack St. Ivany and Ryan Shea are performing well in high-stakes games. (+)


Mike Sullivan praises his team for not allowing its latest late-game letdown to prevent it from salvaging a victory in overtime.

Alex Nedeljkovic’s strong play during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ surge into playoff contention has given Kyle Dubas a lot to think about when considering the future of the Penguins’ goaltending.

Kris Letang doesn’t participate in practice, but Mike Sullivan says he simply was given a “maintenance day.”