Sidney Crosby believes the NHL’s “terrible” helmet rule cost the Penguins their 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in Game 7 on Sunday.
With less than six minutes remaining in regulation time, Penguins defenseman Marcus Pettersson lost his helmet after becoming tied up with Rangers left winger Alexis Lafrenière behind the net. By rule, Petersson had to go straight to the bench after losing his helmet, opening the door for Rangers center Mika Zibanejad to take advantage of the moment and score, leveling the game 3-3 with 5:45 left in the third.
“Tonight I think was an example of a game, anything can happen and we didn’t get that extra goal late in the game and a terrible rule probably ended up being the difference in the game,” said said Crosby after Pittsburgh’s first-round ouster. .
Under NHL rules, a player who loses their helmet will face a penalty unless they leave the ice or put their helmet back on. Although Pettersson obeyed and appeared to be looking for a penalty against Lafrenière for the fight, Zibanejad’s goal late in the third period finally paved the way for winger Artemi Panarin’s overtime heroics to clinch the series for New York. .
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters after the game that he thought the rule “stinks.”
“I think it stinks,” Sullivan said. “He has to go out. His helmet is intentionally ripped off. But that’s the rule. »
Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry also recalled what he saw in the controversial moment.
“I just saw Marcus skating off the ice. I think that’s a rule set by the NHL that could be changed,” Jarry said. “I don’t think there are a lot of injuries that happen when players play without a helmet. I think it’s something that cost us. I think he loses his helmet, he comes back to the net and he plays against a guy in front, I think it’s a bad game.
It’s the fourth straight year the Penguins have failed to advance to the second round.
Pittsburgh initially led the best-of-seven series, 3-1, but suffered a blow in Game 5, when Crosby left the game after taking a hit from Rangers defenseman Jacob Trouba. Trouba was not penalized by the league for the hit and Crosby missed Game 6 on Friday with an upper body injury.
“I don’t know, I think we played the right way,” Crosby said. “I think if you look at Game 5 we had a tough few minutes and Game 6 probably an even shorter period than when they came back into the game. Tonight we were just on the wrong side of some bad rebounds. We played a great game tonight and we played great hockey throughout the series. We didn’t have the next one tonight, that was probably the difference, but I think even when we had those leads we still played the right way.
The Rangers, meanwhile, have advanced to the second round, where they will face the Carolina Hurricanes starting Wednesday.