For potentially the final time this year, let's go.
Tonight the Penguins will attempt to do something that they have yet to accomplish so far this postseason and that's win a game. Pittsburgh looks to avoid shaking hands with the Islanders tonight. Puck drop is set for 7:30pm from PPG Paints Arena.
Well folks, this series is all but over. The Isles have a commanding 3-0 lead and have absolutely outclassed the Penguins in every aspect. That said, the Penguins play their best hockey with their backs against the wall so I wouldn't be surprised if Pittsburgh wins and takes this series back to Long Island for a Game Five on Thursday night. Whatever happens, the Penguins simply cannot get swept. Regardless of how well the Islanders have played this season and in this series, the Penguins are too talented to lose four straight games to them. If the Penguins do lose tonight and manage to get swept, drastic changes need to happen this offseason considering this will be up there with the 2012-2013 postseason in which the Penguins were swept by the Boston Bruins in the Conference Finals, a series in which they only managed to score two goals in four games. Yikes.
The Penguins are a team with many star players and through the first three games of this series, Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel have combined for 0 points while Kris Letang and Justin Schultz continue to make ill-advised pinches on the blueline. That simply cannot happen. It also does not help that Bryan Rust (I forgot he existed) has done nothing, Dominik 'Puck Possession Monster' Simon has played on the top line with Sid for far too long, and Patric Hornqvist's postseason play has been cringeworthy to say the least. Luckily it appears, if the morning skate is any indication (and with Mike Sullivan it's not), that Jared McCann will rejoin Crosby on the top line and Phil Kessel and Evgeni Malkin will be reunited (for perhaps the final time ever) on the second line.
Matt Murray will go in net for the Penguins against a guy that's been a house all series, Robin Lehner.
A cringeworthy stat per NHL.com, Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Jake Guentzel, Patric Hornqvist, and Kris Letang have combined for just six points (2G,4A) this entire series.
Hot take here but the Penguins should try and maintain a lead. They've scored first in their last two games but their leads have lasted just a combined 3:17.
The Pittsburgh 'Media' will try to run Phil Kessel out of town again this offseason. Realistically, because GMJR is an idiot, this could legit be Phil's last game as a Penguin. Enjoy every moment of it.
Pittsburgh has given the Isles far too many power plays this series. They can't afford to do that tonight if they have any chance of getting back into this series.
Should the Penguins get swept, it should be obvious that drastic changes will come this offseason. No idea what those changes are but buckle up.
Never forget when the Penguins were built on speed and skill and won two Stanley Cups.