Why did the Pens lose? Hey, we all pursue a sport here and we know what we are capable of doing. Why do you have a bad day on the snow or all you beer leaguers out there, on the ice? I have a bad day when I'm anxious, tight, over thinking, lost confidence etc. The Pens buckled under the spotlight. They could not live up to the expectations. They were not having any fun. It had little to do with bad coaching and certainly not the lack of talent. You could see it in their bad passes, fanned shots, fanned passes, miscommunication. Perhaps it started with over confidence after game 3 and 4 when they played really good hockey especially defense. Game 5 was totally flat. Maybe it was all the St. Louis factor, maybe the Rangers were just physically exhausted early in the series due to their schedule.
I also think that the Pens lack grit. They failed to sign their role players, the guys that can win the battle on the boards. The guys that keep the other guys head on a swivel. The agitators. The Matt Cookes, the Max Talbots. Our most physical defenseman was out for most of the series and Maatta played like a 19 year old rookie in his first big game. Engelland was never suited up. That is on the coach and the lack of toughness, especially in front of the net and that is on Shero. We all know that the way to beat a hot goalie is to get in front of him, in his face, pepper him with shots and clean up the mess. You will not beat Lundqvist by shooting at him from 20 feet out with an unobstructed view and that was what most of the Pen's 30+ shoot were. I'm pretty sure that Bylsma didn't coach that tactic. A lot of that was from desperate sniping.
There was all types of doom and gloom rumors going around even before the playoffs but the fact is that most of the big names have a no trade clause so that leaves Dan out to dry. I think Neal is likely gone. At least Crosby always seemed to be wearing a Ranger jacket and that freed Malkin who looked like himself out there. Crosby's line was not the same after Dupuis went down. I have no clue what the Pens do from here on out. They are a great regular season team but come up short in the postseason.
Hats off to the Rangers. They came back from the brink with teamwork and determination.