| Sports

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Power outage ends Penguins' season

Penguins/NHL Videos

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.
By Josh Yohe
Thursday, April 28, 2011

Penguins coach Dan Bylsma said before Wednesday night's Game 7 that special teams would dictate the outcome. His prediction was as crystal clear as his team's biggest problem.

The Penguins' inept power player again failed them, and this time, it cost them their season. Tampa Bay held on for a 1-0 victory at Consol Energy Center by killing off two third-period penalties in relatively easy fashion. The Penguins were 0 for 5 on the power play, including a failure on one in the final minute. That left them 1 for 35 for the series.

"At the end of the day," Bylsma said, "a power-play goal would have been a huge factor for us."

Tampa Bay certainly deserves some credit there.

"It's not like we just have been good on the penalty kill in this series," said Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, one of the primary penalty killers. "We were a good penalty killing team all season."

The Lightning finished the season with the NHL's eighth-best short-handed mark. Still, it seemed last night that a far lesser penalty-killing unit would have enjoyed similar success against the Penguins.

"You can always talk about doing things differently," Bylsma said. "We made several adjustments to our breakout and entry that were very good."

But not good enough. And the Lightning had a special helper: Assistant coach Wayne Fleming, who primarily works with the penalty killers but is home battling cancer, sent the team a message before the game.

"This team is as good on the penalty kill as it is because of him," Lightning forward Dominic Moore said. "(The message) meant a lot to us."

The Penguins' power-play unit, without the services of star centers Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, never seemed to have a chance. Since Crosby left the lineup Jan. 5 with a concussion, the Penguins managed multiple power-play goals in a game only twice. One of those contests was fight night on Long Island, when the Penguins received nine power-play opportunities.

"I don't know that we really sensed that they were frustrated on the power play," said Tampa Bay forward Adam Hall, a former Penguin. "They actually did make little changes. Tonight, they tried more plays up high instead of down low, but Coach Fleming had us ready for everything."

The Penguins looked crisp during their first power play, generating good puck movement and a number of chances. From that point on, the power play declined.

Including the series against the Lightning, the Penguins without Crosby and Malkin went 3 for 88 on the power play against teams that qualified for the postseason. Last night, they kept the first and second units unchanged, with Kris Letang and Zbynek Michalek running the points and Jordan Staal, James Neal and Alex Kovalev at forward for the top group.

"Special teams are an important thing in the playoffs," Bylsma said before the game.

His team found that out the hard way last night.

Photo Galleries

Penguins vs. Lightning Game 7 4/2 711

Penguins vs. Lightning Game 7   4/2 <sup>7</sup>⁄<sub>11</sub>

Tampa Bay defeats the Penguins, 1-0, to win Game 7 of their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series Wednesday April 27, 2011 at Consol Energy Center.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Stories

  1. Intruder in Carrick makes off with cash, weapon
  2. Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
  3. Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
  4. Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
  5. Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
  6. Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
  7. Starkey: Artie Rowell’s incredible odyssey
  8. Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
  9. Annual Holiday Parade to celebrate all things Pittsburgh
  10. Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
  11. 1 dead, 1 injured after crash in North Point Breeze