Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
With a career regular-season winning percentage of .671 as an NHL head coach, few can argue that Dan Bylsma hasn't been one of the top coaches in the league since he took over the Pens in 2009.
However, Bylsma's detractors are quick to point out that, for all of the success he's had in the regular season, it has not always translated into success in the playoffs. Since leading the Pens to the Stanley Cup in 2009, the Pens are just 20-21 over their last four playoff appearances.
While some place the blame on the Pens' stars, I believe the reason for the Pens' annual playoff struggles is the lack of adjustments on the part of Dan Bylsma.
During the regular season, teams are content to stick to their system rather than make wholesale adjustments just for one opponent, knowing they will face a much different opponent in the next game. In this environment, the Pens' talent level allows them to excel without much tinkering.
In the playoffs, however, teams do adjust their system to face their opponent in a best-of-seven series and, in these situations, the Pens have struggled to adapt.
This was evident against the Bruins, who crowded the neutral zone to take away the Pens' signature stretch pass and make it difficult for them to carry the puck through the neutral zone.
Rather than adjust to a dump-and-chase style to counter this, the Pens simply stuck to Bylsma's game plan and consistently turned the puck over to the Bruins.
If the Pens are to take the next step toward the Stanley Cup, they must show a willingness and an ability to adapt their game to counter what their opponent is trying to do.
If Bylsma isn't able to recognize the need to adapt and get his players to adjust, the Pens may be looking at another short and disappointing playoff run next season.