I had thought the Pens would come out swinging, seeing as how the Rangers had played a Game 7 just days before. They would take it to the Blue Shirts, working them hard and wearing them out. The scoring touch of their stars, long overdue to return, would return. They would play like we saw them play so many times during the regular season: purposefully.
|This Pens team plays without purpose.|
I could go on ranting and raving about how the Pens look lackadaisical, but that wouldn’t do anyone any good. We know they do. They probably even know they do. They have for a while now and I highly doubt that it’s going to change anytime soon.
The crazy thing is that they were still in the game. That’s what is so infuriating about this team; the knowledge that they are better than what they have shown.
Crosby, for example, has been invisible. He’s gone 12 straight playoff games without a goal. After a Hart Trophy worthy season where he blew the scoring race competition out of the water, seeing him underachieve is extremely frustrating.
Fleury has been the team’s most consistent player so far these playoffs. If he wasn’t, the Pens would not still be playing games. Still, he often looks over-matched as the defense isn’t giving him any help for long stretches.
There are just so many facets where the team is underachieving. Poor defense. A weak power play. No hustle. Lazy passes. Poor decisions.
There is no overriding factor that is driving the team, no cohesive purpose that holds the team together and pushes them to achieve. If the Penguins are going to survive this series and continue on, they have to find something deep inside.
Without that, there is no purpose.
Lee can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LCJS