A look back on the Pens memorable run


Nick Pouch, Staff Writer

It takes 300 days to make it to Mars from Earth, 365 days for the Earth to make a full rotation around the sun, and it took 1,109 days for the Pittsburgh Penguins to lose a playoff series.

Tuesday night saw the end of the three-year reign of Penguins’ dominance in the NHL, when they lost in Game 6 to the Washington Capitals in overtime, 2-1.

Many are upset about this loss and how the Pens “lost their fight” or “played terribly.” That might be true, but look at that run the Pens had.

The Pens started their reign in the 2015-16 season, which looked like a year the Pens might not even make the playoffs. The change that completely turned the tide for the Pens was the firing of Coach Mike Johnston and the hiring of Mike Sullivan in December in 2015, which came as a Christmas present for Pens fans everywhere.

This change in coaching gave the Pens a spark that clinched them a playoff spot, and later propelled them into the first Stanley Cup of their back-to-back seasons.

That season showed the Pens’ resilience as they fought from a difficult start of the season to be on top of the whole league. It will be a season Pens fans will cherish for a lifetime.

The second season was filled with great hockey and great memories that led to talk at the start of the playoffs about the possibility of back-to-back Cup wins for the Penguins. The playoffs were filled with nail-biters and drama, the biggest being in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals with the double-overtime win after Chris Kunitz scored the game-winner.

When that horn went off after the goal, the talk around the hockey community turned to whether the Pens could actually pull off the back-to-back Cups, a feat that had not been done in the salary cap era. That question was answered after the Pens won Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals and the Stanley Cup.

This season was going to be a struggle, as everyone expected, following the losses of Chris Kunitz, Nick Bonino, and Marc-Andre Fleury, who all had been big parts in the back-to-back Cup wins.

The Pens fought through and clinched their playoff spot, won round one of the playoffs, but came up short against the Caps in the second round.

This run of back-to-back Cups, nine straight series wins, and 1,109 days of Pens dominance in the playoffs is something that Pens fans and NHL fans will not see often in modern hockey.

Of course it is upsetting that the Pens lost a playoff series, of course it hurts that the Pens won’t “threepeat,” but Pens fans have been spoiled for these three great years with a great team and great hockey by that team.

This Penguins team will go down as one of the greatest of all time with this historic run and it is something that Pens fans will cherish forever.

Also, this is the first time in three years that Pens fans now can watch great playoff hockey without being nervous about a Pens loss, and it will be the first time in 10 years that a team other than the Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Boston Bruins, or the Pittsburgh Penguins will stand atop the hockey world as Stanley Cup champions.