Poor start a factor in loss as much as bad calls

posted by Adam Crowley -

First, let me get this out of the way: The puck was across the goal line, Matt Murray was interfered with, and Tom Wilson should have been penalized. 

Without question, each of those plays had a big impact on the outcome of game two. The Pens' play, though, was the biggest determining factor. 

The Penguins have been behind by at least two goals in each of their last three games. They trailed by two against Philadelphia before Jake Guentzel scored four unanswered goals to give Pittsburgh the series victory. Ovechkin made it 2-0 with 19:32 to go in the third period in game one before the Pens furiously scored three goals in 4:49. Yesterday, no such comeback was in the cards. 

The non-goal call made their comeback bid much more difficult to pull off, but it's  not the reason the Pens lost the game. The reason they lost is that they had a poor start AGAIN. 

Ovechkin opened the scoring at 1:26 of the first period. It was the second time in as many games that the team in black and gold had been down 1-0 before the first two minutes had been played. 

That's not good enough. The Penguins have scored first in just three of their eight playoff games. The Flyers could have just as easily had the lead in game three in the first round.

Playing a "full 60 minutes" is something that gets talked about by coaches and the media alike at this time of the year. You don't see it very often. In the playoffs, momentum can change at the drop of a hat, and teams are going to make their pushes. 

The Penguins have shown that they have an uncanny ability to come from behind. That's great. What's not great is that they rely on their Houdini acts far too often. The Pens were largely the better team for the final 35 minutes of the game, but they were down 3-0 already at that point. 

If you want, blame the brutal officiating. That was a factor. But, the Pens poor start was the real reason for their demise.


Photo courtesy of Getty Images


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