It’s Done: Rangers eliminate Penguins in overtime


The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers battled fiercely for five games. Each contest was determined by just one goal and the final two went to overtime.

But at the end of the day, the Penguins could only win once and the Rangers officially eliminated them with a 2-1 victory tonight.

Carl Hagelin scored the overtime marker:

This is the sixth straight year Pittsburgh couldn’t get it done in the playoffs. This time around though, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury wasn’t the story. He did all that could be expected of him in this series, posting a 2.12 GAA and .927 save percentage in five contests.

Instead fingers will likely be pointed at Evgeni Malkin, who fired six shots on goal Friday night but still finished the series without a single point. The Penguins lacked offensive depth in this series as well as Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist accounted for half of Pittsburgh’s eight goals.

At the same time, it would be wrong to ignore the fact that the Penguins were missing defensemen Kris Letang, Christian Ehrhoff, and Olli Maatta as well as forwards Pascal Dupuis and Beau Bennett due to injuries. That’s a lot of talent to be stuck on the sidelines.

Still, another Penguins season that began with Stanley Cup aspirations is over while the Presidents’ Trophy winning Rangers are moving forward. The Rangers fell in the Stanley Cup Final in 2014. They’re one step closer to getting back there now.

Click here for playoff highlight videos

Pens GM Rutherford isn’t big on votes of confidence


Doesn’t sound like Pittsburgh GM Jim Rutherford is ready to give his head coach, Mike Johnston, a vote of confidence —  but it’s not because he doesn’t like Johnston.

Rutherford just doesn’t like votes of confidence.

“I’ve heard that term because I follow sports, but I don’t like it. You can say you give a guy a vote of confidence, but it doesn’t amount to a hill of beans,” Rutherford said, per the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “[Johnston’s] done a good job under difficult circumstances and still has gotten us to 96 points and given us a chance to get into the playoffs here in the last couple of games.”

Johnston’s job security has been a hot topic of late as the Penguins, 3-8-2 in their last 13, trend towards a once-unthinkable collapse; they were 10 points clear of the final wild card spot at the beginning of March, neck-and-neck with the Rangers and Isles for top spot in the Metropolitan Division.

But things, they have changed.

Injuries and poor health have besieged the team, especially on defense, which is perhaps why Rutherford wasn’t prepared to throw Johnston under the bus. The first-time NHL head coach had the Pens playing some very impressive hockey early — Pittsburgh had just nine regulation losses over the first three months of the season — and, to be fair, there aren’t many clubs that could withstand 333 man-games lost (fifth-most in the NHL) and the types of ailments Pittsburgh suffered: Olli Maata had cancer, Pascal Dupuis had blood clots and five different players were infected with the mumps.

Still, one has to wonder if Johnston will be turfed should the Penguins miss the dance, simply because he and the club would fall remarkably short of their goals. He arrived on the job talking like the postseason was a given; his aim was to win another championship.

“The bottom-line expectation for me is that, from training camp through the first part of the season, everything we do is setting the table for the playoffs,” he said upon getting hired. “The score is relevant, but it’s not as relevant as the habits that we are going to have to make us successful in the playoffs.

“This is a group that wants to win. They’ve won the Stanley Cup, and I believe they want to do it again.”

Malkin (undisclosed) out versus Flyers, Pens to play with 17 skaters


The Pittsburgh Penguins will be decidedly undermanned when they take on the Flyers on Rivalry Night, as Evgeni Malkin was a late scratch from the contest due to an undisclosed injury.

Pittsburgh, who came into tonight’s contest without the services of Kris Letang and Christian Ehrhoff (along with Pascal Dupuis and Olli Maatta, who were previously ruled out for the year), were down to just five defensemen and 13 forwards prior to the Malkin injury, and will now roll with 12 skaters up front.

More, from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun:

‘Pascal Dupuis won’t play for us this season,’ Pens confirm


Pittsburgh forward Pascal Dupuis, who’s been sidelined since November with blood clots, will remain out for the rest of the regular season and playoffs, the club confirmed via video message on Monday.


“Pascal Dupuis won’t play for us this season,” Pens head coach Mike Johnston explained. “There’s a certain timeline where he cannot have contact. Even when he gets beyond that point, where he can have contact, there’s going to be a lot of discussion with doctors.

“That’s better kept for later in the year and offseason, to figure out where he’s at as far as his playing career and being able to rejoin us.”

Pens GM Jim Rutherford is optimistic Dupuis will be able to rejoin the club next season.

“He’s not going to be cleared until June,” Rutherford explained. “I do feel very confident he’ll return to the team next year.”

Related: Dupuis: ‘I will play in the National Hockey League again’

Report: ‘No substantial evidence’ that hockey players more likely to suffer blood clots

1 Comment

There have been several high-profile cases recently of NHL players missing extended periods of time, or perhaps even having to end their playing careers, due to blood clots.

For instance, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis opened up about his condition, which is expected to keep him out of the lineup for six months, and his desire to still make it back to the NHL in an article for the Players’ Tribune.

Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen has battled blood clots in his lungs and leg, and is only now appearing close to a return, although it remains up in the air about when, exactly, that will be.

Goalie Tomas Vokoun, who recently retired from the NHL, was also diagnosed with a blood clot, which he said nearly killed him, in September of 2013.

While these stories appear to be more frequent, a report from The Canadian Press, which outlined these three cases, also cited a medical expert as saying there is a lack of evidence to suggest hockey players are more likely to get blood clots.

From The Canadian Press:

There’s no substantial evidence to suggest athletes, especially in a contact sport like hockey, are more likely to suffer blood clots than other people, according to Dr. William Geerts of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. With one out of every 1,000 people getting a clot each year, it’s not more prevalent in hockey players, but Geerts said trauma from injuries could play a factor.

“It’s possible that really intense athletic activity could induce some clotting,” he said. “In many people there are risk factors that would apply to all of us.

“So if I break my ankle, then I could get a blood clot, too, just like an athlete could.”