Pittsburgh Penguins Lose in OT as Season Comes to an End


A quick wrist shot from New York Rangers forward Carl Hagelin ended the Pittsburgh Penguins’ 2014-15 season in one fell swoop.

The goal capped off a Game 5 overtime victory for New York, the fourth win of their Eastern conference quarterfinal series which thus eliminated the Penguins from the playoffs.

Just as was the case for each of the series’ previous four games, tonight’s contest was an extremely close, hard-fought battle. For the fifth straight game, the victor came away with only a one-goal lead, as New York closed out the contest with yet another 2-1 victory in overtime.

Pittsburgh did not go down without a fight, however.

The Pens outshot New York 38-36 by the game’s end, including a 14-7 third period that saw Pittsburgh leave it all out on the ice.

Both netminders – New York’s Henrik Lundqvist and Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury – were spectacular all series long. For Fleury, who has been called out over the last few seasons as being subpar come playoff time, the series certainly served as a significant step forward.

Fleury was not only excellent throughout the series, he was arguably Pittsburgh’s best player overall.

That being said, his effort was not enough as the Rangers will continue on past Pittsburgh to the second round for the second consecutive season.

Pittsburgh’s first-period woes came back to haunt them in this one as the Pens gave up an early powerplay which resulted in the game’s first goal, fired in by Rangers forward Derek Stepan.

The Pens tied it up near the end of the second period when Sidney Crosby threw the puck on net and saw it find its way to the back of the cage, aided by the net-crashing presence of Steve Downie and Nick Spaling.

Both teams battled and fought for every inch over the rest of the contest, through sixty minutes and through 10:52 of overtime.

Midway through the extra frame, however, the puck found its way to Hagelin in the corner. The speedy forward wheeled out from beside the cage and, in one spinning motion, fired in the series’ final goal.

Pittsburgh put forth a strong effort throughout the game and throughout the series. Blame will be cast upon many in the Pens’ organization – General Manager Jim Rutherford, head coach Mike Johnston, the two marquee stars in Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, perhaps others.

The true culprit, though, seems simply to be horrible luck. Considering the Pens entered the playoffs without four of their top five defensemen – Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, Olli Maatta, and Derrick Pouliot, who were all lost to injury – it’s a miracle they kept their five playoff games as close as they did.

These losses certainly had a significant effect on the Pens’ game, not only in the defensive end but on the offensive side as well.

Without their top puck-moving defenders, Pittsburgh repeatedly found themselves extremely limited in their ability to move the puck up from their own zone with skill.

Ian Cole and Paul Martin did their part but past that, Pittsburgh simply looked lost in the neutral zone for much of the postseason.

Thus, it’s difficult to assess how this team truly measures up. On paper, the Pens had everything they needed – a lethal and physical forward corps, arguably the league’s best group of offensive defensemen, and a much-improved Marc-Andre Fleury.

Without one of those three, however, the Pens’ chances were slim – just as they would be for any other team in the league.

The Penguins organization now heads into another offseason of uncertainty, one that may see sweeping changes once again given the team’s lack of success.

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