Jan 17, 2013, 2:40 PM EST
Every day until the season starts we’ll explore an intriguing storyline for the upcoming year.
They entered the playoffs as Stanley Cup favorites. They left embarrassed.
We are, of course, referring to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who lasted just six games of the 2012 postseason. Even worse, they fell to their archrivals from Philadelphia in a wild, nasty series that saw the teams combined for 56 goals and hundreds of minutes in penalties.
For Penguins captain Sidney Crosby, the loss is still fresh.
“I remember at different points, just kind of being in shock,” Crosby told the Post-Gazette recently. “A lot of different flashes go through my mind when I think about the series.
“Basically, what it came down to was, we didn’t deserve to win. We didn’t play well enough, all the way through.”
It’s hard to argue with that last part. The list of things the Penguins failed to do against the Flyers included protecting leads, killing penalties, and – perhaps most memorably – maintaining their composure.
Crosby in particular had trouble controlling his emotions, a surprise to many given his experience on hockey’s biggest stages. Only 25, he’s already played in two Stanley Cup finals, winning once, and an Olympic gold-medal game in which he scored the winning goal in overtime.
Yet after the Flyers took a 3-0 series lead, this is the spread that ran in the Philadelphia Daily News:
And while the Pens won Games 4 and 5 to make it more than interesting, they lost the sixth one badly – a game that began with Flyers star Claude Giroux crushing Crosby with an open-ice hit.
Moments later, Giroux would open the scoring, creating exactly the sort of magical moment Crosby is famous for producing.
As the Penguins prepare to kick off the season Saturday in (of course) Philadelphia, perhaps they can draw inspiration from the fact they’ve rebounded from disappointment before.
In 2008, they lost the Cup finals to Detroit. The next year, they got their revenge, taking out the Red Wings for the championship.
For all of PHT’s Pressing Questions, click here.
Dec 18, 2014, 8:34 AM EST
Thursday’s collection of links.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:25 AM EST
Vancouver has now lost a season-high five straight.
Dec 18, 2014, 2:05 AM EST
Chris Stewart is one name, which has been linked to Boston.
Dec 18, 2014, 1:40 AM EST
He’s even walking under his own power according to the report.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:45 AM EST
Calgary signed Bob Hartley to a multi-year extension Wednesday.
Dec 18, 2014, 12:15 AM EST
The Devils have lost five straight.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:45 PM EST
Boston snaps three game skid.
Dec 17, 2014, 11:15 PM EST
Jason Akeson was in on the action for the Flyers’ affiliate.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:41 PM EST
New Jersey has lost five straight on home ice.
Dec 17, 2014, 10:15 PM EST
New Jersey has now lost five straight.
Dec 17, 2014, 9:30 PM EST
Detroit ranks 30th this season in fighting majors.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
Marc-Andre Fleury is unavailable Thursday.
Dec 17, 2014, 8:30 PM EST
He’s in his third season with the Wild.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:45 PM EST
Jaskin recalled from the American Hockey League.
Dec 17, 2014, 7:20 PM EST
Boston looks to snap a three-game skid.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:35 PM EST
Has not played since Nov. 18.
Dec 17, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
Hasn’t played since suffering a groin injury Nov. 2.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:30 PM EST
Rivalry Night affair on NBCSN.
Dec 17, 2014, 5:25 PM EST
It’s the first time the league has made a fine public for embellishment.
Dec 17, 2014, 4:53 PM EST
Currently has Calgary in the thick of the Western Conference playoff chase.
- Mark Howe on his father’s health: ‘He’s back in the ballgame’ 1
- Holland: ‘I’m not against fighting’ 6
- Preds’ Neal fined for diving 18
- After surprising start, Flames sign Hartley to multi-year contract extension 5
- Update your wallcharts: Rangers confirm Brassard has mumps 11
- Video: Coyotes defeat Oilers with 0.3 seconds remaining in OT 3
- It’s ‘unlikely’ Duncan Keith has the mumps, says Blackhawks coach 3
- Bjugstad scores the winner as Panthers, Capitals make history with 20-round shootout 21
- Yep, Beau Bennett has the mumps 24
- (Video) PHT Extra: Would the Oilers really trade Taylor Hall? 11