A local columnist said that the Penguins will be taking their failure against the Washington Capitals to their graves.
Should the Penguins have defeated a Washington club that didn't have three of its top-six players available to them in game 6? Probably. Should Washington have won the series against the Penguins last year when Sidney Crosby was unable to play? Yes. A lot of times in hockey, the best team doesn't win. That's one of the reasons it's a niche sport.
What exactly will the Penguins be "taking to their graves," though? Sure, a loss to the Caps stings. But did anybody expect the Pens to beat Tampa without a healthy Phil Kessel?
What about if Malkin was nursing a knee injury? It always blows to lose to a rival. But the Penguins didn't miss a grand opportunity this year.
They've played 307 games over the last three seasons. They won 9 series in a row. They successfully defended their title for 695 straight days and hadn't lost a playoff series in over 1,000. At some point they were going to lose. Fact.
Had they won their 10th series in a row, the competition would have gotten even stiffer. Tampa, Winnipeg, and Nashville are all clearly better teams than the Pens.
They lost to Washington. That sucks. But they were going to lose to some team along the road. This wasn't a colossal failure. Sometimes it just isn't your year.