Yet, their failure to close out Tampa was a fitting ending to a turbulent season.
Several key players missed significant time because of injury, including the team's top three centers.
Sidney Crosby was having a career year before he was concussed and he's still not playing. Matt Cooke was suspended in the postseason, Evgeni Malkin tore his ACL, Jordan Staal was often hurt and top defenseman Brooks Orpik sat out a good amount of games.
The way the Pens continued to fight through adversity was impressive, but they still fell short. Here are five players that need to have a big year for Pittsburgh to return to the Stanley Cup Final.