56 Minutes Not Enough

If it wasn’t so utterly pathetic it would be laughable.

Skating without the best player in the world, the Pittsburgh Penguins executed the perfect game.  Correction, the perfect 56 minutes.

The Pens were cautious, conservative, stable in the defensive zone, and offensively opportunistic.  Second period goals from Mike Rupp and Kris Letang gave them a commanding 2-0 lead.

Then it all fell apart.  Playing in cruise control, the Penguins managed just two shots in an apathetic third period.  Still it looked as if the visiting Boston Bruins would be sent home defeated.

Then Brooks Orpik took a boarding penalty.  Zdeno Chara wristed a saucer shot that escaped Marc-Andre Fleury.  No problem, still 2-1, less than four minutes to play.

Then Brad Marchand tied the game 12 seconds later.  One minute later, Jordan Stall took a holding penalty and Mark Recchi – remember him? – took advantage and scored the game winner.  An empty netter from Greg Campbell settled the colossal collapse at 4-2.

I can’t remember feeling this disgusted since the last time the Pens let a lead slip away against Boston. Oh wait, there was that 4-0 abomination Saturday night against Minnesota.

This will be tough to forget.  Pittsburgh has been mediocre against good teams this season and letting a two-goal lead evaporate in the last four minutes is inexcusable…especially on home ice.

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