Was this the fault of the ESPN layoff? Probably not.
Is it a bad look after gutting most of their NHL staff? Yep.
The NHL staff at ESPN was a big victim of the company layoffs that affected over 100 employees, leaving the company with even more sparse coverage amid the NHL Playoffs. Because of that, fans are already looking for reasons to criticize ESPN when the network gave them this opportunity earlier.
The series between Pittsburgh and Washington was actually at 1-0, and while this isn’t that big of a screw, some NHL fans took it as a chance to tee off on ESPN for how they cover hockey.
To be fair, ESPN’s premonition did turn out to be correct: The Penguins did win Game 2 in order to take a 2-0 lead in the series.