Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me three times and had I been home for Saturday’s game, a new television would be in order.
I don’t know what it is about playing the Boston Bruins that makes it personal for me.
It probably stems from growing up outside of Boston as a Penguins fan having to listen to the jeers from family and friends.
I’d tell you how many Penguins/Bruins games I’ve seen in Boston, but the painful memories blur together.
Lifetime, I’m about 1-7 in Boston. I’ve had beer cups thrown at me as a youngster sporting my Jaromir Jagr jersey. I’ve had college kids yelling obscenities at me as a teenager. I even had a group of Marines hollering in my ear for an entire game about how Mario Lemieux was overrated.
As blasphemous as that last event was, I know my limits and that’s not to mess with a group of 30 Marines and hope to live to tell the tale.
So, you can imagine the wonderful night I had on Monday this week watching the Penguins blow a two-goal lead in the blink of an eye. Did I mention I was watching the game with family and friends in Maine?
Flash forward to Saturday.
Chris Kunitz gets the Pens on the board early after a review. Then, Pascal Dupuis catches Tuukka Rask napping and makes it 2-0 to start the second period.
However, Rask makes up for the blunder by stoning Evgeni Malkin on a breakaway. That set up the event which would have left a remote protruding from my television had I not been at my in-laws’ house.
For the third time this season and the second time in mere days, the Bruins erased a 2-0 Pittsburgh lead before the public address announcer could announce the first goal to the masses.
After Dennis Seidenberg’s laser from the point beat Marc-Andre Fleury I said to myself, “No way it happens three times.”
Lucky for me, that thought left me with three seconds to spare before Michael Ryder tickled the twine to tie the game.
The string of consciousness that went through my mind would have given George Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” routine a run for its money.
I was creating new words that the good folks over at Webster’s would never allow to grace the pages of their dictionaries.
How is it possible to let the same team do the same thing, not once, not twice, but three times in one season?
Three two-goal leads erased in spans of 15, 12 and 13 seconds respectively is mind-blowing.
It’s one thing for that to happen over the course of a season against different teams, but the same team?
After Ryder’s goal, the pace ramped up and made for quite an exciting game. While Jordan Staal’s rebound goal proved to be the difference in the game, it was Fleury who rose to the occasion.
Sure, three pucks got behind Fleury and either hit or went wide of the post. You can’t ignore that, but the Penguins were outshot 20-11 in the third period.
Fleury came up large when needed. He found a way to keep all 20 of those shots out of the net to secure two big points in the standings.
Also important is the coming out party for Staal over the last two games. He scored his first goal of the season against Montreal and added two assists before tacking on another goal and an assist against Boston.
Without Sidney Crosby in the lineup, Staal is one of the guys who need to pick up the slack. Another is Malkin, who only has four points (two goals, two assists) since the calendar turned to 2011.
In addition to getting production from other players, the Penguins need to remember that hockey is a 60-minute game. Against Montreal, the effort was there. However, against Boston, it slipped for periods of time.
The Bruins played a mostly dominant third period and had it not been for a little luck and a great goaltending display by Fleury, the Pens would have left Boston wondering how another two points got away.
I don’t mind seeing a loss when the effort was there. Losses become frustrating when the team beats itself.
The Pens have now won two straight games with Crosby out of the lineup and will look to extend the streak to three games when Detroit comes to town on Tuesday.
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