The unthinkable has happened for Penguins fans. Their team is down 0-3 in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
With such high hopes going into the quest for another cup, perhaps the Penguins just weren’t able to live up to expectations. Pittsburgh needs to change drastically if it will even have one win to its name this post season.
Goaltending: To say that it has been a problem is an understatement. The Flyers scored 20 goals in three games, all but two of them on Marc-Andre Fleury. In Sunday’s game he was shaky and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he had little or no confidence left against the Flyers. Despite his play, coach Bylsma will start him Wednesday. This could be the nail in the coffin for this team. They’ve scored enough goals to win a normal game, but couldn’t keep the puck out of their own net to hold on for a win. It’s a significant problem.
Defense: This no doubt has had an impact on the goal scoring as well, so it isn’t just one man’s fault. As a whole the team needs to play better defense. They need to stay with their man, work hard and make good decisions with the puck. The turn overs in every area of the ice, the giving up of short-handed goal after short-handed goal have killed the Penguins in each of the games.
No Malkin: The Penguins MVP hasn’t scored a goal yet. They need Malkin to return to his goal-scoring streaks of past and get his team on the board.
Don’t drop the gloves: The Penguins have fallen into letting the Flyers dictate the game in terms of physicality. Sunday’s game was a disgrace to the organization with what ensued on the ice. Bylsma said they did not want to be involved with that, but clearly, the message was not received by his players. Sidney Crosby even instigated a situation with Scott Hartnell, something the captain should not have done. Crosby needs to help rally his team before they even step on the ice for Game 4. They should have won the first two games, but they didn’t.
If the Penguins get swept in this series, it will be remembered by Penguins fans as the season of what could and should have been.