The longest playoff streak in all four North American sports leagues has come to an end. For the first time since 2006, the Pittsburgh Penguins won’t be playing in the playoffs.
The Penguins needed the Montreal Canadiens to win against the New York Islanders Wednesday to still have a shot at the playoffs after suffering a shock defeat against the Blackhawks on Tuesday.
But the Islanders did what was expected of them, and they clinched the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern. The Pittsburgh Penguins have dominated the playoffs for the last decade, winning the Stanley Cup in 2009, 2016, and 2017.
Sidney Crosby had a great season with 33 goals and 58 assists, but it still wasn’t enough, and for the first time in 16 years, he won’t be competing in the playoffs.
Pittsburgh’s elimination from the playoff contention happened before their final game of the regular season, as Pittsburgh play the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday.
And ahead of the contest, NHL insider Rob Rossi suggests that the Penguins want Crosby, Malkin, and Letang benched. Not because they’re underperforming but because they deserve better.
”Doubt it will happen, but I’d scratch Crosby, Malkin & Letang in Columbus were I Mike Sullivan. Out of respect,” he said.
”They’ve never played in a game without postseason implications since getting together – no need to force it. This mess isn’t on them.”
Crosby, Malkin, and Letang all had a good campaign, but the depth in the Penguins hasn’t reached its potential. The team’s top six forwards scored 66% of their goals, and no defenseman has more than 40 points. Kris Letang has 39 points, but he’s missed 18 games this season.