Perspective: Bylsma is the difference

As excited as the players and fans may be at this moment up 3-0 on the Canes, there still needs to be a sense of composure. Thirty four years ago the Penguins dropped their semi finals series to the Islanders while having a 3-0 lead. And if there was a team with enough drama in their playoffs to do it again, it’s the Cardiac Canes.

We’re all aware of how they won game 4, with Jokinen's last second goal to tie the series with the Devils 2-2. And how the Canes scored 2 goals in under 2 minutes to beat the Devils in New Jersey to advance to play the Bruins. Not to mention bringing Boston to a game 7 and winning on a Scott Walker goal to upset the "best" team in the East. Yes, there’s drama.

The good news is history is on the Penguins side. Only two teams have in fact overcome a 3-0 deficit in nearly 70 years. But we must not also forget the real reason the Pens are not going to take the night off and why they will in fact continue this incredible play.

Reason: Dan Bylsma

Bylsma’s grounded demeanor has arguably been the best thing for the Penguins all year. You can hear it in his interviews that while they’re pleased they’re up 3-0, they still know they have at least a hard fought 90 minutes of play to get to the Cup Finals for the second year in a row.

“My experience in being up three nothing as a player is we were scared of giving up any life, giving any momentum to the opposition in the other direction even though three nothing seems like a pretty good spot to be in. We want to take every advantage we can to play our game play the right way and keep this momentum in our favor right from the drop of the puck…That’s the way I feel and that’s the way we’ve talked together with our team”
And again,

"We certainly know the situation we're in. We haven't won four games. This is a race to four, and we still have more work to do to get there. ... I understand they've been to the finals last year and didn't get the result they wanted. No, we're not there yet. We still have work to do."

This type of mentality is key. When you listen to the other player interviews the same mindset radiates. Crosby continues to fend off the questions about what they are doing differently as a team play-wise and you hear him say the same thing,

“We really haven’t changed our demeanor a whole lot, but obviously we know what’s at stake here”

Of course the Penguins are excited. Of course each one of them inside is gitty about the fact they could be returning to the finals at a chance to get their revenge against the Red Wings and their Hossa with the “traitor” storyline undergirding the whole thing. There's no denying this. But right now is their focus. Right now is where Bylsma has their heads. They're going to play tonight as if its the first in the series. Have they been dominant? Sure have. But as far as they're concerned, the series is tied 0-0.

I firmly believe this team has learned their lesson about giving any momentum over to the opposition. They did that both with the Flyers and the Captials. They’re not about to do that again, Bylsma wont let them.


VicG76 said...

I have to agree. You could tell the difference in the voices of the players from game to game depending on Therrien's "mood." They didn't have that stability they seem to have while under Bylsma.

The Puck Stops Here said...

love the banner :)

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