As Penguins postseason meltdowns go, the one that ended inside rollicking TD Garden Friday night was slower, deeper and more mystifying than the three that immediately preceded it, and the fallout will be malignant. The Boston Bruins, beaten reliably by these same Penguins in the Penguins' record-breaking regular season, turned around and pounded them when it mattered, abused them in every way short of singing them Sweep Caroline. For the first time since 34 years then, the Penguins were chased from a playoff series with a big swooping broom, having averaged precisely a half a goal per game and failing to score at all in this Eastern Conference final's final 127 minutes, 8 seconds. Put another way, they performed offensively in direct disproportion to their available talent, a revolting punctuation that figures to bring swift and dramatic repercussions. When their dressing room doors swung open at 10:43 p.m., what was still at that moment Dan Bylsma's team sat slumped against the four walls, Sidney Crosby sitting next to Evgeni Malkin, two superstars who had just combined for exactly zero points in nearly 14 periods of hockey. "There's not much to say," said Crosby as Malkin sat forward and put his head in his hands. "We had our chances, that's for sure. You can talk about their defense and their patience, but whether it was hitting posts or whatever, we just didn't execute." Across the room, Jarome Iginla, who chose the Penguins over the Bruins when looking for a ride on the Stanley Cup Express at the trade deadline, spoke a truth that was painfully self-evident: "It sucks not moving on," he said. " It stings because this is a special group that had a great opportunity. We were in close games, but we didn't get it done." The Penguins essentially spent the balance of their forgettable presence in these NHL playoffs the same way they spent most all of this series: Not putting the puck in the net. On their first attempt with their hapless power play Friday night, they tried simply not shooting the puck at all, but that produced the same result as when they shoot it five times.
Penguins meltdown mystifying
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | Jun 8