Sidney Crosby Leads Penguins to Vital Win as Playoff Hopes Hang in the Balance

Sidney Crosby

Sidney Crosby scores his 42nd goal in a critical 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, keeping the Pittsburgh Penguins in the hunt for the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot. With just one game remaining, the team’s postseason fate is still uncertain.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are displaying strong playoff form but are still uncertain about securing a postseason berth.

Sidney Crosby led the way with his 42nd goal and an assist, helping the Penguins secure a crucial 4-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Monday night. This win keeps Pittsburgh’s playoff hopes alive as they now sit just one point behind Washington and Detroit, with only one game left in the race for the Eastern Conference’s second wild card.

The situation is tense as Pittsburgh’s final regular season game against the New York Islanders—who clinched their playoff spot Monday—will only matter if Washington and Detroit both lose their games on Tuesday. “Obviously, we need some help but given the position we were in a few weeks ago I think we would have taken this opportunity,” Crosby reflected. “So hopefully we get some help.”

Sidney Crosby

Erik Karlsson also contributed a goal and an assist, while Reilly Smith and Emil Bemstrom each added a goal for the Penguins. Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, marking his 12th consecutive start, stopped 28 shots for Pittsburgh.

Despite Filip Forsberg setting a franchise record with his 48th goal and Gustav Nyquist adding his 23rd, the playoff-bound Predators missed a chance to secure the Western Conference’s top wild card spot. Forsberg highlighted the need for readiness, noting, “I think the first period was not ‘ready’ hockey, but the second and third were.”

The Predators have already made the playoffs thanks to an impressive 16-0-2 run earlier in the season. The Penguins, meanwhile, made a late surge to position themselves for a possible playoff spot after being nine points behind in late March.

Pittsburgh’s first period was particularly dominant, showcasing a potential that center Evgeni Malkin believes could have secured a playoff berth earlier. “I tell you before, this team is amazing,” Malkin stated. “If we play like this all year, probably, we clinch the playoffs.”

The Penguins initially pulled ahead with Crosby scoring early and then setting up Karlsson for a goal. Despite two goals being disallowed for goaltender interference, the Penguins maintained their lead. Forsberg’s late second-period goal narrowed the gap to 3-2, but Bemstrom’s goal early in the third ensured the Penguins held on for the win.

After the game, the Penguins lingered to sign jerseys for fans, hopeful that they might still host a playoff game. “We’ve worked pretty hard to get ourselves in this position and get ourselves a chance,” Crosby stated, reflecting the team’s perseverance and optimism amidst uncertainty.

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