Penguins Facing Brink of Elimination

Pittsburgh players turn focus to Tuesday's Game 4

Josh Rowntree
April 14, 2019 - 4:20 pm
Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) looks on against the New York Islanders during the third period in game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG PAINTS Arena. New...

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports


Unable to generate offensive chances and having production from its star players disappear, Pittsburgh is now facing a 3-0 hole to the surprising New York Islanders following Sunday’s 4-1 Islanders victory at PPG Paint Arena. 

“At this point, we just have to take a step back, we’ve got to look at it and figure out a way,” veteran forward Matt Cullen said. “Obviously this is not where we want to be. But we’ve got to find a way to be better.

“There’s been stretches through the first three games here where we’ve been pretty good. But we haven’t been able to maintain that and play at our level for an entire game. Until we do that, we don’t deserve to win.”

The Islanders, mainly, have been able to suffocate the Penguins and limit quality scoring opportunities. When Pittsburgh has had those looks, it has come up empty. 

Now, with the potential of a handshake line Tuesday in Game 4, and what would be a shocking sweep  by New York, the Penguins have their backs against the wall.

“We’ve just got to worry about one game,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said. “We’ve got to focus on winning Game 4. We haven’t left ourselves a lot of room for error, but all we can control is coming in here with the right mindset for Game 4 and finding a way to get a win. 

“We’ve just got to keep moving forward,” goalie Matt Murray added. “At this point, nothing else matters. We’ve just got to find a way.”

Crosby has not recorded a point in the series and has been held without a point in nine of Pittsburgh’s last 14 games, going back into the regular season. 

“You’ve got to earn your bounces,” he said. “There’s no excuses. We’ve got to find a way to put it in the back of the net.”

While the Penguins may not have been desperate going into Game 3, they certainly will be Tuesday night. 

“It’s just the next game,” Cullen said of where the focus now shifts. “It’s one game. You’ve got to narrow your focus to one game and that’s all we can do and all we can control.”

“That’s always the way you have to look at it,” Murray added. “But for sure now.”

The good news? There’s not many for the Penguins. But it does take four wins to advance. The Islanders are a young group and Pittsburgh will bring its best Tuesday, looking to avoid a shockingly early end to its year. 

“It’s not over,” defenseman Jack Johnson demonstratively said after the game. “It’s not over.”

Hear all of what Penguins coach Mike Sullivan had to say below.