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Penguins Wrap: Playoff Streak Ends; Major Changes Start



Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel, Rickard Rakell

The Pittsburgh Penguins got an incredible gift two days into the final week of the regular season, when an undermanned Washington lineup stunned the New York Islanders 5-2, giving the Penguins control of their playoff fate.

The Penguins re-gifted it to the Islanders 24 hours later with a 5-2 loss to Chicago — yes, the same Chicago that spent the season tanking to get the best possible chance of drafting super-prospect Connor Bedard — at PPG Paints Arena, effectively ending their hopes of stretching their streak of appearances in the postseason to 17.

New York made it a mathematical reality the following night, locking up the final berth in the Eastern Conference by beating Montreal, 4-2.

The Penguins closed out 2022-23 with a thoroughly (and predictably) uninspired 3-2 overtime loss at Columbus Thursday, and the first moves of what promises to be a very active offseason followed the next morning.

Here’s a look back at an eventful, exasperating week for the Penguins:


Third-period collapses have been costly for the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2022-23.

Alex Nylander, who scored the Penguins’ first goal in their 5-1 victory at Detroit a day earlier after being brought up on emergency recall, is assigned to their farm team in Wilkes-Barre.


The New York Islanders’ stunning loss at Washington allows the Penguins to regain control of their playoff fate.

Defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, a trade deadline acquisition, is ready to rejoin the lineup after missing 14 games because of an unspecified injury.

His teammates vote Sidney Crosby the Penguins’ Most Valuable Player.

Kris Letang is the Penguins’ nominee for the Masterton Trophy.


In one of the most shocking and costly regular-season defeats in franchise history, the Penguins lose to Chicago, 5-2, at PPG Paints Arena.

The Penguins got what they deserve, and there have to be major changes made.

The Penguins clearly were aware of the opportunity they wasted by losing to the Blackhawks. (+)

Alex Nylander spent much of the past few weeks commuting between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre.


The end is here. The New York Islanders’ victory over the Canadiens officially eliminates the Penguins from playoff contention.

The Penguins still were hoping against hope that things would break their way when they convened for practice the day after losing to the Blackhawks. (+)

The Penguins are the oldest team in the league, and Evgeni Malkin suggests it has become a place for younger players.

Video: Fans reacted with predictable outage after the Penguins’ loss to Chicago.


The Penguins complete the season with a 3-2 overtime defeat in Columbus.

Tristan Jarry says after the Blue Jackets game that he has been injured all season.

With his contract about to expire, Jason Zucker was adamant about where he wants to play in 2023-24.

How invested is Fenway Sports Group in the Penguins?


The widely anticipated front-office purge begins. Ron Hextall, Brian Burke and Chris Pryor are fired.

A pair of executives speak to Fenway Sports Group’s plans for the future of the franchise.

Although the process is just beginning, here are six candidates who deserve consideration to replace Ron Hextall as GM.

Kris Letang says he never was really able to “totally be there, mentally” in 2022-23.

Things won’t get any easier for the Pittsburgh Penguins now that their streak of playoff appearances is over.


Sidney Crosby says on Breakup Day at UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex that the Penguins “didn’t earn” the right to be in the playoffs and reiterates that he wants to spend his entire career in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins have a number of free-agents-to-be, but no one with whom they can negotiate at the moment.

A look behind the scenes in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ locker room at various points of the just-concluded season.

What are the Penguins’ chances of moving up in the NHL Draft Lottery?