The Stanley Cup Playoffs aren't all celebration and happiness. Sure, the opportunity to win the Stanley Cup is something that we all focus on, but out of the 16 teams that make it, only one can win. That means 15 teams go home disappointed.
Of course, some loses hurt worse than others, which brings us to this post. We'd might as well get this out of the way now. Welcome to the tale of Pittsburgh Penguins playoff heartbreak.
The 1975 Penguins/Islanders series:
None of us on staff were around to see this, but we can imagine it was devastating.
The Islanders were 0-for-Pittsburgh in their first three seasons, and nothing changed at the start of the playoffs. The Penguins took the first two games, 5-4 and 3-1, and then put the Isles on the edge of elimination with a 6-4 victory at Nassau Coliseum on April 17.
But sparked by a goaltending change — coach Al Arbour sat Billy Smith in favor of Glenn "Chico" Resch — the Islanders made sure they wouldn't be swept by winning 3-1 at home. They stunned a Civic Arena crowd that was ready to celebrate the franchise's second trip to the League semifinals with a 4-2 win in Game 5, and then delighted their home fans with a 4-1 win in Game 6.
The Pens lost. This isn't the Islanders first appearance on this list.
1993: David Volek
1996: The Rats
You don't understand how much we hated Dave Lowry. The Panthers winning cost us a Colorado/Pittsburgh Stanley Cup Final that would have been amazing. Forsberg and Sakic versus Jagr and Lemieux? Man.
1998: The Leafs
One of the only times in recent memory that being a Penguins fan in Toronto was just awful.
2001: The Trap
Mario Lemieux's comeback season came to an end. This was the final playoff game he ever played as the Penguins didn't return to the postseason until 2007. It was also Jagr's last game as a Penguin.
After a huge second round win against the Sabres in seven games, the Pens were suffocated by the Devils in the Eastern Conference Final. The Devils went on to lose to the Avalanche in the Final while the Penguins were slowly dismantled. This series hurts even more because of the Dark Ages that followed.
2008: So Close
In retrospect, the Penguins didn't really have a chance during this series and losing the Cup made the team stronger. However, it's always heartbreaking when you come this close and fail. The Red Wings holding the Stanley Cup inside the Igloo is heartbreaking enough on its own to include this moment here.
2010: Goodbye Igloo
The CONSOL Energy Center is an outstanding facility, but a part of all of us will miss the Igloo once the playoffs start.