Watch CBS News

Penguins, Steelers Playoff Perils Continue As Teams Struggle To Win In Postseason Games

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Despite repeated regular season success and qualifying for the postseason, both the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Steelers have recently left a lot to be desired among the city's fans as they have struggled to win playoff games.

Between the Penguins and the Steelers, since winning their last respective championships, the two teams have combined to have a losing record of 14-23.

Penguins Playoff Woes

The Penguins' recent struggles have come in the past few postseason ventures on the heels of their 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup titles.

Since winning the Stanley Cup in those two postseasons, the team has gone 9-16, losing their past three playoff series', and now trail the New York Islanders 3 games to 2 and are facing elimination, needing to win the next two games to avoid falling for a fourth straight series.

In 2018, the Penguins defeated the Flyers in the first round in six games.

The current streak of losing playoff series' then began, with losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals in six games in 2018.

Washington Capitals v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Six
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 07: Evgeny Kuznetsov #92 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his overtime winning goal to win the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena on May 7, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Washington won the game 2-1 in overtime (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The following season, the Penguins were unable to win a playoff game, falling in a 4-game sweep to the New York Islanders in 2019.

New York Islanders v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Four
PITTSBURGH, PA - APRIL 16: The Pittsburgh Penguins acknowledge the crowd after a 3-1 loss to the New York Islanders in Game Four of the Eastern Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena on April 16, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images)

Last year, after a paused season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Penguins faced the Canadiens in the qualifying round in the Toronto bubble, losing 3 games to 1 in a 5-game series.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Montreal Canadiens
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 07: The Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins pump elbows after the series finale in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 07, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 to win the series. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)

Prior to winning Game 2 and Game 3 of the Penguins' current series against the Islanders, the team had lost 12 of its last 14 games.

Steelers Struggles

Across town, the Steelers' playoff struggles have been just as prevalent as they have been for the Penguins, logging a 5-7 postseason record in the 12 years since last winning the Super Bowl, in 7 playoff appearances.

The Steelers followed up their Super Bowl XLIII appearance in 2008 with returning to the big game in 2011, losing to the Green Bay Packers in Dallas.

Two straight postseason losses followed that Super Bowl appearance, falling to Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos in 2012 and the Baltimore Ravens in 2013.

NFL: JAN 08 AFC Wild-Card - Steelers at Broncos
08 January 2012: Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow (15) celebrates with defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley (77) after the game. The Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 29 to 23 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO. (Photo by Rich Gabrielson/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The team got back to its winning postseason ways in 2016 with a wild-card round win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Wild Card Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals
CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 09: Pittsburgh Steelers fans cheer during the AFC Wild Card Playoff game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Injuries derailed high hopes that year, with the Broncos again beating the Steelers, this time in the Divisional round.

The Steelers' highest Super Bowl hopes came the following year in 2017, after dispatching the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field, hitting the road and knocking off the Kansas City Chiefs, but ultimately were defeated in the AFC Championship Game at the hands of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

AFC Championship - Pittsburgh Steelers v New England Patriots
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 22: Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers looks on from the sideline during the second half against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 22, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The win over the Chiefs in January of 2017 was the last postseason victory for the Steelers, having lost a home-game in the Divisional round to Jacksonville Jaguars in 2018.

The team's most recent playoff failure came this past January, losing to long-time division rival Cleveland Browns.

Browns Steelers Football
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) sits on the bench next to center Maurkice Pouncey (53) following a 48-37 loss to the Cleveland Browns in an NFL wild-card playoff football game in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

The Steelers hope to get back to their winning ways this coming season.

It won't come easy as the team has the most difficult schedule based on winning percentages from last season.

Stay with KDKA's comprehensive sports coverage anytime by clicking here.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.