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Dan Bylsma discusses strategy during time out
Author Rita Mae Brown once wrote, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."
While it might seem a bit extreme to suggest that the Penguins' game plan against the Bruins was insane, given the lack of adjustments they showed, it would be proper application of the term.
Facing a Bruins squad that was intent on taking away the middle of the ice and eliminating the stretch passes through the neutral zone, the Pens looked and sounded like a team that truly believed that their system and talent would eventually win out in the series.
Instead of shuffling his lines, Pens head coach Dan Bylsma stuck with essentially the same combinations both at even strength and on the power play, apparently believing that the Pens' regular-season approach would simply carry over into the playoffs. It didn'tm and the result was an embarrassing output of just two goals scored in a four-game sweep.
Instead of simply trying to force the play through center ice, which often resulted in turnovers and scoring chances for the Bruins, the Pens would have been better served to follow the example of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
In their first-round matchup against the Bruins, the Maple Leafs used their speed to carry the puck into the zone along the boards or chipped the puck into the Bruins' zone and pressured the Bruins' defensemen into turnovers.
Instead, the Pens continued to force plays through the neutral zone and shoot from the perimeter rather than generating pressure deep in the Bruins' zone and creating traffic in front of the net to create scoring chances.
It is possible that their regular-season success, which included a 15-game winning streak, created the impression in the minds of the Pens players and coaches alike that they didn't need to make adjustments. But it took just four games against the Bruins to destroy that myth and leave the Pens with nothing but a long summer full of what ifs.