Geno and Sid pitched bagels at the Boston Bruins and Tuuka Rask in the Eastern Conference Finals. Is it any wonder they were swept out of the playoffs in four games?
They had their looks, albeit brief and minimal, at the Boston net. However, in the end, it its time to tip the bucket to the Bruins and their D corps for their stout and at-times felonious defense on Malkin, Crosby, Dupuis, Iginla, Neal, Morrow and the rest of the Penguins point producers. You may not like Chara, Boychuk, McQuaid, Sedenberg, Krug and the rest of the Bruins D, but you have to respect their tenacity and their desire to destroy all scoring chances that happen to develop on their end of the rink. Boston's strategy was to play as a cohesive unit-of-five defense. The goal was to choke and smother Pittsburgh's assassins and to minimize the amount of enemy fire that Rask would face. The Boston offense didn't have to be great, it just had to play above average D in all three zones, and provide offense off of the turnovers that they would force Pittsburgh into committing.
Julien's plan worked to perfection. Just the way he drew it up on the dry-erase board at practice.
Two goals. Thats all the Pens could muster in the ECF, and neither came from the Big Cahunas named Crosby, Malkin, Letang, Neal or Iginla.
The Pens scored one goal in the final 106 minutes and 28 seconds of the series and were outscored 12-2 in the four games.
The Penguins never led in the series and was tied for 75:02 of the 275:19 of game play.
Chew on this fact:
Tuuka Rask made 158 saves on the 160 shots that Pittsburgh threw at him in the series. 160 shots in four full games, and an OT and a half. Thats an incredible feat. Rask deserves the Conn Smythe for his blanking of the Penguins in the ECF.
Thanks, Penguins TV
The winds of change will no doubt be blowing through Pittsburgh after this epic nose-dive into mediocrity. They have a ton of UFAs including Dupuis, Iginla, Morrow, and Murray that they have to make decisions on. They have their own RFAs to re-sign.
However, their biggest area of need is goaltending. Vokoiun was valiant in defeat, however, he's not their #1. Fleury is frazzled and likely will get a change of address in the near future.
Next time, I'll share with you my opinion why Ryan Miller makes perfect sense for the Pittsburgh Penguins.