Penguins Preview Playoff Hockey Against Avalanche

Pittsburgh Penguins(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Pittsburgh Penguins(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Penguins faced off against one of, if not the hottest team in the league Sunday afternoon, the Colorado Avalanche, for what was the closest thing to a playoff hockey game during the regular season.

The first period was explosive.

It seemed liked every time the Avalanche got the puck in the offensive zone, they were going to score. At the very least, they would get a grade A scoring chance.

The Penguins would counter the scoring threats with a quick transition game, breaking up the ice for their own offensive chances.

Darcy Kuemper and Tristan Jarry were going toe-to-toe, refusing to let the puck cross the goal-line.

Then the second period came. 

Mikko Rantanen had multiple scoring chances in the first period, ringing a shot off the outside of the crossbar with a minute to go, foreshadowing what would come next.

Halfway through the second period, he scored his 35th goal of the season, batting the puck out of the air off a rebound.

Only a minute later, the Avalanche turned the puck over to no other than Sidney Crosby. Unfortunately, it wasn’t his time as Keumper came up with a huge save to keep the Avs up 1-0.

One minute after that, yet another gift from the Avalanche for Jake Guentzel in the slot, only to have the puck roll off his stick as he goes to score on his backhand. A rare stroke of bad luck for the Penguins goal leader.

The third period put the dagger in the heart of the Penguins.

When the seas finally parted, it was Sidney Crosby who put the Pens on the board.

Then it was the Avs turn to roar right back and take the lead again 20 seconds later, which was the theme for the night.

The Penguins were able to tie it again late in the third period, but gave up a goal 27 seconds later.

If Darcy Keumper had been playing any worse than he was, and the Penguins were able to finish on their scoring chances, they would have won the game.