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 5, 2013, 11:25 PM EST
Pacioretty says he feels ‘awful’ for Boychuk incident.
Dec 5, 2013, 11:01 PM EST
Expectation is that he’ll be OK.
Dec 5, 2013, 10:35 PM EST
They can thank their goalie for two points.
Dec 5, 2013, 10:14 PM EST
Tough night for defensemen across NHL.
Dec 5, 2013, 9:50 PM EST
Pascal Dupuis had only two shifts in second period before leaving the game.
Dec 5, 2013, 9:25 PM EST
Tampa Bay already has a full sickbay.
Dec 5, 2013, 8:51 PM EST
He won’t return tonight.
Dec 5, 2013, 8:29 PM EST
He ranks second on the team in shorthanded minutes.
Dec 5, 2013, 7:57 PM EST
Marek Mazanec has done a fine job in his absence.
Dec 5, 2013, 7:22 PM EST
Their reinforcements are at very different stages in their careers.
Dec 5, 2013, 6:42 PM EST
He’ll make life a little easier for Curtis McElhinney while he fills in for Sergei Bobrovsky.
Dec 5, 2013, 6:11 PM EST
The Stars will play against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Dec 5, 2013, 5:19 PM EST
Dec 5, 2013, 5:10 PM EST
“They’re 7-0-1 in their last eight games, and now they’re a point behind us.”
Dec 5, 2013, 4:38 PM EST
Was King Henrik’s deal a good one for the Rangers?
Dec 5, 2013, 4:36 PM EST
“Absolutely,” said Mike Gillis.
Dec 5, 2013, 4:05 PM EST
“All of the other guys, I think, have better to give.”
Dec 5, 2013, 3:08 PM EST
Still unclear what ails the 27-year-old defenseman.
Dec 5, 2013, 2:44 PM EST
“Here we are now and it’s a chance for us to grow as a team and work on some things that need fixing and turn in a good effort,” Blues d-man Kevin Shattenkirk said.
Dec 5, 2013, 2:35 PM EST
Which led to Montreal’s game-tying goal against New Jersey.
- Boychuk boarded by Pacioretty, taken off on stretcher (Update: has movement in extremities) 33
- Seguin (concussion) cleared to play tonight 0
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ 86
- Will the Rangers use a compliance buyout on Richards? 9
- Malkin (lower body) to miss tonight’s game versus Sharks 20
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ 59
- Columbus puts Bobrovsky (groin) on IR, out 4-5 weeks 3
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Olympic odds, Russia’s defense, King Henrik’s new deal, Fire Cappy? and more 28
- With Lundqvist deal done, Sather faces tough questions 11
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension 42
- Bylsma: Sharks are NHL’s best, ‘with all due respect to Chicago’ (86)
- Flyers’ Couturier: ‘We’re starting to believe in ourselves’ (59)
- Lehtonen shines, Roussel agitates as Stars beat ‘Hawks (53)
- Video: Canucks’ Bieksa fights Rangers’ Boyle, then kicks Boyle’s helmet (52)
- King of New York: Rangers sign Lundqvist to seven-year, $59.5 million extension (42)