Justin Boure had a really good piece on Thursday about the Penguins and why keeping their composure is going to be key against the Blue Jackets going forward. [ The Score ]
In a series like Pittsburgh/Columbus, the Penguins need to understand: the Blue Jackets don’t truly believe they’re on the Penguins level. Theyhope they are, and they probably aren’t far off in reality, but it’s like when Tiger Woods would get pushed to the brink by players like Bob May and Rocco Mediate – those lesser competitors, those peasants never truly believed they could hang with him, and because of that, they couldn’t. Intimidation and a lack of belief can sap a competitor’s will.
This has been a rallying point for years in the Crosby/Malkin era. The Penguins have been their own worst enemies in the playoffs. Composure, or lack there of, is a candidate for the worst problem.
Ultimately, it is going to be on Crosby and Malkin to control themselves. Crosby was able to control himself in Game One, even though he got trolled by Brandon Dubinsky for most of the game. What is interesting is that Crosby only has 52 penalty minutes in the playoffs for his career. Usually, it is everyone else that gets jammed trying to defend him.
By contrast, in the 2009 playoffs, Malkin had 51 penalty minutes. He has over 100 for his career. Malkin was in somewhat control in Game One , although Boone Jenner was able to get under his skin a little bit as the game went on.
The Jackets will be in full troll mode in game 2, if the Penguins avoid playing into it, they may be able to break the Jackets spirit and take control of the series.