The Pittsburgh Penguins lost what would be their final game in the Stanley Cup Playoffs Friday, June 7 against the Boston Bruins. The Eastern Conference Final came to a close as the Bruins conquered the Pens in a 4-0 sweep. A score of 1-0 determined the outcome of the series in the last game on home ice.
The series as a whole proved a struggle for the Pens. They had a rocky start of 0-3 in the first game back on the first day of June. The team fought to score against Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask, who continuously shut them out of scoring four games in a row, giving up a mere two points.
Vokoun was also playing in place of Fleury, a move that proved fatal for defense. The Bruins easily swept a total of 12 pucks into the net during the series, including six in the second game. Even with Fleury back in for the series’ finish, the Pens defense fell to the Bruins’ offensive moves.
Crosby and Malkin failed to create offensive opportunities for the team, and the typically stellar offense appeared rather lackluster throughout the entirety of the series.
So, what happened?
Essentially, three different things hindered the Pens over the course of the series: first, the goal tending became a huge issue. Fleury has a tendency to choke during the playoffs despite proving a phenomenal goalie during regular season play.
Secondly, the Pens offense failed to figure out ways around Rask’s repeated saves.
Lastly, and perhaps most unfortunately, the Pens played as though they did not want to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. Through a series of missed offensive opportunities, off sides calls left and right and a series of rookie mistakes, the team looked tired and careless compared with the Bruins. Those are not the Pens Pittsburgh knows and loves during the regular season. They aren’t even the same team who stepped up and over their series against the Ottawa Senators and the New York Islanders to make it to the Bruins.
With Dan Bylsma’s contract extended for at least another two years, Pittsburgh can only hope next year’s regular season goes well and leads to smoother playoffs success.
As a result of the series close with the Pens, the Bruins have moved on to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the final beginning Wed., June 12.