Crosby, Malkin silenced again in season-ending loss
BOSTON — They sat side by side in the Penguins' locker room, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the two greatest Penguins — and maybe players — of their generation. Crosby sat dignified and quiet, while Malkin sat with his head in his hands for the longest time.
They'll forever sit side by side at the bottom of the score sheet of the 2013 Eastern Conference final, too.
The mega-powers were silenced by the Bruins in a 1-0 setback in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final. Neither player earned a point in the series.
They weren't able to muster much of an explanation, either.
“I tried,” Malkin said. “I tried. If you're not (shooting), you're not scoring goals. Sometimes I'm not scoring and I'm nervous and I have good chances — I don't know, try to shoot quicker? Sometimes I can wait and get an empty net. It's tough.
“I have no confidence. You know, zero goals.”
Malkin launched 21 shots on goal during the series.
Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask stopped every one.
Crosby knows the feeling.
The undisputed greatest player in hockey endured the most miserable playoff series of his career.
Crosby actually played his finest game of the series in Game 4 and was probably the game's best player, other than the unflappable Rask.
But the player who was built to score points at will came up empty against the stingy Bruins.
“If you look back, chances were there,” Crosby said. “You try to fight, try to get rebounds. Sometimes they come to you, sometimes they don't. We scored two goals all series and I didn't score any points. It doesn't sit very well.”
The Penguins entered the series averaging 4.27 goals per game in the postseason, the NHL's highest mark through 10 playoff games since the 1990 Edmonton Oilers. They also led the NHL in goals for a second consecutive regular season.
But no NHL team has won the Stanley Cup and led the league in goals since the 1992 Penguins.
Crosby gave the Bruins plenty of credit, saying they're among the finer defensive teams he's ever encountered — “They don't give you anything,” he said — but refused to give Boston all the credit.
Rather, Crosby acknowledged he and his gallery of future Hall of Fame teammates simply failed.
“For whatever reason, we just weren't able to capitalize,” he said.
The Penguins did themselves no favors with the man advantage. They entered the series clicking at 28.2 percent with a man advantage and had the second best power play during the regular season.
They went 0 for 15 against the Bruins.
“Maybe we should have scored a power-play goal at some point,” left wing Chris Kunitz said.
Crosby and Malkin are the engine that runs the power play.
The engine, for reasons even they don't seem to understand, was never ignited.
For the fourth straight time since 2009, someone other than Crosby will raise the Stanley Cup.
“To get two goals in this entire series,” Kunitz said, “is something we never would have imagined.”
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