It finally happened. The Pittsburgh Penguins lost to the Washington Capitals and will not win a third straight Stanley Cup. We knew they weren’t going to win forever, but it still hurts.
Why did they lose to the Capitals? It could be because they were tired, or hurt, or the Capitals were hungrier. Whatever the reason, it was a great series where each team was evenly matched and each game was decided by the smallest things. Before Evgeny Kuznetsov scored in overtime of Game 6 to give the Capitals the win, Tom Kühnhackl’s shot hit the post. If that is a goal, the Penguins win and most likely win Game 7 because the Capitals would probably choke like they did so many other times in playoffs against the Penguins.
We could be negative and blame Matt Murray for being outplayed by Braden Holtby in goal. We could blame any other player not named Crosby, Guentzel or Hörnqvist for not scoring enough. We could blame Kris Letang for defensive lapses during the series. But why be negative when there have been so many positives in the last 3 years?
The main reason the Penguins lost is they didn’t take advantage of opportunities like in the past 2 years. In ‘Miracle’, Herb Brooks said ‘Great moments are born from great opportunity’. There have been plenty of great moments the past 3 years, like Nick Bonino scoring in overtime to eliminate the Capitals in 2016:
or Bryan Rust scoring both goals against the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2016:
or Kris Letang scoring the game winning goal in the deciding game of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final:
or Jake Guentzel scoring his 3rd goal of the game to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2017 playoffs:
or Nick Bonino scoring the game winning goal of Game 1 of the series against the Capitals in 2017:
or Chris Kunitz’ goal in double overtime of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to eliminate the Ottawa Senators:
or Patric Hörnqvist’s game winning goal in the deciding game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final:
Thank you Pens for so many wonderful memories. The future is still bright for this team and you know there will be many more great moments.