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Metropolitan Division (NHL)

Penguins on the Brink of Elimination

Penguins Goaltender Matt Murray. Photo by Matt Murray. (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

It appeared the Pittsburgh Penguins were going to go to coast to victory after they took a 3-1 lead in the second-period on a goal scored by Teddy Blueger, which was assisted by Zach Aston-Reese and Brandon Tanev. Welp, things changed throughout the course of the game and Jeff Petry scored the game-winning goal 5:33 into the third-period lifting Montreal to a 4-3 victory in Game 3 over Pittsburgh.

The Penguins are now on the brink of elimination. 

It seems Mike Sullivan, may have no choice but to make a move from Matt Murray to Tristan Jarry. Even though Murray made 27 saves, it may be time to switch things up..

In 2017, Pittsburgh was down 2-1 in the series having lost Game 3 to the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Finals. Sullivan yanked Marc-Andre Fleury and made Matt Murray the starter for Game 4. They won the next two games with him and won that series in double overtime in Game 7.

On Friday, the Penguins play on Sidney Crosby’s 33rd birthday and he will have to put the team on his shoulders more than ever.

In Wednesday’s game, Shea Weber started the scoring 4:57 into the game for Montreal assisted by Artturi Lehkonen and Paul Byron.

Pittsburgh was finally able to take advantage of the power play scoring two goals in a span of :59 seconds (8:40 and 9:39 mark) in the first-period. Patric Hornqvist scored the first one on a delayed penalty call. It was assisted by Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

Jason Zucker scored the second one assisted by Bryan Rust and John Marino. 

At the 10:13 mark in the second-period, Jonathan Drouin scored a goal for the Montreal Canadiens with Ben Chiarot and Shea Weber both getting assists. 

Montreal tied the game at three with 4:10 remaining (15:50) in the second-period on a goal scored by Paul Byron. Nick Suzuki and Shea Weber recorded assists on the goal.

If this is the end of the road for the Pittsburgh Penguins for the 2020 season after Friday afternoon, and let’s hope not, then they will have a lot of questions to answer this offseason.

General Manager Jim Rutherford hopes he doesn’t have to make serious decisions about the franchise yet. If they lose, then the Pittsburgh Penguins will have a 12.5 percent chance to land the number one pick in the 2020 NHL Draft in Monday’s lottery.

Alexis Lafreniere is projected to be the number one overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft from the Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL). Crosby was the number one overall pick in the 2005 NHL Draft from also Rimouski. Could it be things going in circles? Time will tell and what goes around comes around.

However, it will be interesting to see what happens moving forward.

Game 4 of this series will be on Friday afternoon at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, with game time set for 4 p.m. Eastern and we will see if this team will be ready to roll when the puck drops. 

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