The overtime loss the Penguins endured to the Flyers last night is painful to think about.
When your team leads 3-0, after one period, you EXPECT them to win.
Even after giving the necessary consideration to the way the Flyers have previously battled back from 2-0 deficits to the Penguins this season, the first period lead seemed like something the Penguins couldn’t possible let slip away.
Certainly the Flyers had something to do with the outcome, it’s wasn’t as if the Penguins stayed in the locker room for the last two periods…there’s video proof and millions of eye witnesses that saw the Penguins on the ice in the 2nd, 3rd and brief OT periods.
But what the Flyers did or did not do in this game is really not the issue to me.
The issue is that the Penguins have shown a repeated inability to play a full 60 minute game against the Flyers — and the 2-5 record this season, including last night’s game 1 loss, is all the proof you need.
A lot of people will dissect this game and try to find EXACTLY what went wrong.
Some people will point to the Flyers first goal – when Danny Briere scored but was clearly offside – and say that was the turning point.
To those people I say BS…that’s sour grapes.
There are going to be botched calls and the players and fans have to deal with that. Plus, it was only 3-1 when Briere scored…if you can’t recover from that, you deserve to lose.
Some people will look at the Penguins power play – a point of controversy for a few years now – and wonder how a unit that employs the likes of Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Neal and Kunitz can’t manage to put one puck behind the opposing goalie given the three chances they had.
While I understand the frustration we all have with the powerplay’s ineptitude, it wasn’t the reason they lost the game.
Unfortunately for us, the problem appears to be much bigger than just a blown call or poor results from the power play unit. The problem appears to be that the Penguins can’t match the Flyers desire and effort when they need to most.
I talked about crossing the right line…the commitment line…in my blog from yesterday.
The Penguins drew the first line of the series with the 3-0 first period lead.
Slowly, as the game wore on, the Flyers kept inching toward that line and by the time the game was tied in the 3rd period, they had crossed it.
When they scored the game winner just 2:23 into overtime, they drew a new line for the Penguins to see.
It says — “THIS is what you need to do to beat us”.
The problem for the Penguins is that it’s the same thing they have needed to do for most of the meetings between the two teams this year, but have failed to do at least 5 times, including this game 1 debacle.
Play their best for 60 minutes.
Until they can do that, they are going to find that games against the Flyers have a very familiar and very painful outcome.
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Thanks for reading!