If the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins weren’t going to engage in a few line brawls in the series, then this series would have been seriously overhyped.The fact that Max Talbot and Jaromir Jagr are in orange sweaters alone had all the makings for a tense tilt between the two teams. Not to mention Sidney Crosby’s recent return as he tries to anchor the Penguins back from the brink of a Pittsburgh two-game skid to open the playoffs.
But, Crosby did all the right things in Sunday’s 8-4 loss, except playing like a leader.
Beyond the playoffs being an exceptional physical test of endurance through the longevity of the season and heightened competition, there’s a mental aspect, too.
And Crosby fell victim to just that: Allowing the Flyers to mess with his head. (As if his head can handle much more.)
Here’s Crosby putting his agenda before the betterment of his team:
In all, there was 158 penalty minutes and 74 in just the first period. The Penguins registered 89 of the 158 minutes in the box.
Crosby registered seven minutes in the box.
Aside from Crosby, others seemed to let emotion dictate the outcome. Aaron Asham drew a five-minute penalty after running Breydon Schenn from behind after Schenn was tagged for a deleted penalty. Rather than the two-minute advantage, Asham chose to retaliate.
Sure, that’s Asham’s role as an enforcer. Perhaps he was on the ice at the wrong time when the emotions were heightened towards the end of the first period.
But the Penguins are in a rare, rare mess of sorts. They’re down 0-3 in the series with one game left in Philadelphia, and then back to Pittsburgh, if they win Game 4, let alone survive it.