x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Only ones upset over results are the Penguins

The Penguins are in danger of being swept out of the NHL post-season, but the only ones upset are Pittsburgh and their fans.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have done their celebrating early in games, but not at the end. They trail the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 in their first-round series.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have done their celebrating early in games, but not at the end. They trail the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0 in their first-round series.

 

There is no such thing as an upset in the NHL play-offs.

Just ask the Pittsburgh Penguins. They were the Stanley Cup favourites entering the post-season, but in two games the Pens went from leading contenders to fighting to stay alive.

That is how quickly things can change during the desperate frenzy of the NHL's post-season.

The Penguins, of course, are powered by the glittering tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Pittsburgh made it to the cup final in 2008 and won it all in 2009. They have Marc-Andre Fleury, one of the league's best goalies, and Kris Letang, one of the best defenceman. Their supporting cast is second to none, from scoring wingers such as James Neal, Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis to two-way defenders like Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek.

None of that has made a bit of difference as the Penguins blew big leads - at home - in their first two play-off games, and they went into Philadelphia trailing the rival Flyers 2-0.

Can they come back? Sure. But they shouldn't have to, not after jumping to a 3-0 advantage midway through Game 1 and a 3-1 edge in Game 2. Rather than cruising to two easy victories, they lost 4-3 in Game 1 and were overwhelmed 8-5 in Game 2. Those are the sorts of collapses that crush a team's confidence and often result in a hasty play-off exit.

The Penguins are a special team and they may very well pull off the unlikely comeback. But don't call it an upset if they come up short.

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