15 Years: The Penguins' Playoff Streak Continues
In an NHL season with more uncertainties than usual, the Pittsburgh Penguins continue their yearly routine of playing playoff hockey, clinching for the 15th straight season
Death, taxes, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Pittsburgh. Those seem to be the only certainties that exist. The Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-4 overtime victory over the Washington Capitals on Thursday evening officially placed them in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the 15th straight season. That streak is not only the longest current streak in the NHL, but it is the longest one in sports, with the Penguins earning the distinction after the NBA's San Antonio Spurs missed the playoffs after 22 straight appearances. The last time the Penguins missed the playoffs was the 2005-06 season, which was not only the first season back from the lockout, but it was also Sidney Crosby's rookie year, meaning that his debut season his only one without playoffs.
The Penguins' streak is an impressive one, as it comes in a sport where nothing is really guaranteed due to its immense parity. Here is a yearly look at what the Penguins accomplished during their league-leading playoff streak:
2006-07: The beginning of the Penguins' current streak. Finished second in the Atlantic Division, but lost a five-game East Quarters to the Ottawa Senators.
2007-08: Finished first in the Atlantic. Swept the Senators in the East Quarters, won the East Semis in five games over the New York Rangers, and defeated the Philadelphia Flyers in a five-game East Final. Lost the Stanley Cup Final in six games to the Detroit Red Wings. This was their first Stanley Cup Final appearance in the streak.
2008-09: Won the East Quarters in six games over the Flyers, the East Semis in seven games over the Washington Capitals, and swept the Carolina Hurricanes in the East Final. Defeated the defending champion Red Wings in a seven-game Stanley Cup Final. This was their second Stanley Cup Final appearance in the streak, and their first Stanley Cup win.
2009-10: Won the East Quarters in six games over the Senators, but lost the East Semis in seven games to the Montréal Canadiens.
2010-11: Lost a seven-game East Quarters to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
2011-12: Defeated in six games in the East Quarters by the Flyers.
2012-13: Won the East Quarters in six games over the New York Islanders, and the East Semis in five games over the Senators, but swept by the Boston Bruins in the East Final.
2013-14: League switched back to four divisions and adopted the current division-based playoff format; Penguins were placed in the Metropolitan Division. Defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in a six-game Metropolitan Semifinal, but lost the Metropolitan Final to the New York Rangers (seven games).
2014-15: Lost the Metropolitan Semifinals to the New York Rangers (five games).
2015-16: Won the Metropolitan Semifinals in five games over the Rangers, the Metropolitan Final in six games over the Capitals, and a seven game East Final over the Lightning. Defeated the San Jose Sharks in six games in the Stanley Cup Final. This was their third Stanley Cup Final appearance in the streak, and their second Stanley Cup win.
2016-17: Won the Metropolitan Semifinals in five games over the Blue Jackets, a seven-game Metropolitan Final over the Capitals, and a seven-game East Final over the Senators. Defeated the Nashville Predators in six games in the Stanley Cup Final. This was their fourth Stanley Cup Final appearance in the streak, and their third Stanley Cup win. They became the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Red Wings (1997 and 1998).
2017-18: Won the Metropolitan Semifinals in six games over the Flyers, but lost a six-game Metropolitan Final to the Capitals.
2018-19: Swept by the Islanders in the Metropolitan Semifinals. To date, this is the only time that the Penguins failed to win a playoff game in the streak.
2019-20: Regular season paused and abruptly ended due to the COVID-19 pandemic; Penguins qualified for the season's 24-team playoffs, finishing fifth overall in the Eastern Conference. Lost the East Qualifying Round to the Montréal Canadiens in four games (best-of-five series). Because the Qualifying Round counts as the playoffs, the streak continues; however, this is the first time in the streak that the Penguins did not qualify for the Round of 16.
In their previous 14 seasons, the Penguins played in 177 playoff games and won 98 of them, while winning 20 playoff series. They reached the Stanley Cup Final four times, and hoisted the Cup three of those four times, and faced the rival Washington Capitals four times--winning three of the four meetings. But here's a shocking number that's hiding in all of their massive totals: 0. That's how many times they won the Presidents' Trophy in that stretch--the award given to the team with the best record in the NHL. The Penguins are coming off that disappointing and shocking Qualifying Round loss to the Canadiens in the Toronto bubble last year, but this shortened season shows that the Penguins are still capable of being a dominant force that they have been since drafting Sidney Crosby.
Born on March 18, 1985. I am an avid fan of sports and wrestling, and I've been a fan of female villains since the age of eight. Also love movies--especially comedy and horror--and among my favorite TV shows are The Simpsons and Family Guy