The saying “kick them while they are down” is something that grownups teach children not to do when they are beating someone in something. This is considered rude and impolite. Little leagues, midget leagues, and even high school sports all have some kind of rule to prevent this from happening to the losing teams. When it comes to professional sports, it’s not only okay to rub salt in an open wound when you’re beating them, but it is encouraged because you never know what can happen during the span of a game.
The 2013-14 Pittsburgh Penguins, so far this season, are an example of a team that just does not know how to put many teams away when they have them on the ropes. The Penguins have so much talent and during many games they will have a lead late in a game, only to barely hang on to the lead or have it taken away from them.
In the game Friday night against the New Jersey Devils, this happened to the Penguins yet again. What is the cause of this?
Is it because the team has so much offensive talent that they feel they can hit the gas on their scoring drive whenever they please?
This is not just something that has been going on this season. The Penguins let the New York Islanders stick around too long in their first-round playoff series last season. This lack of killer instinct almost caused the Pens to have an early exit from the tournament.
The answer to this question is not easily answered and I do not think that Pens’ coach Dan Bylsma even knows the answers to it. He is going to have to figure out the answer to this question before playoff time.
Yes, the Penguins are missing many players due to injuries or, in James Neal’s case, suspensions; this is part of the problem but not all of it. It is not something that goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury can fix, he has made his game sharper then what is has been in years. This needs to be a total team effort. Players need to follow the lead of their leader Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, and hopefully the Penguins can learn that killer instinct before it hurts them even more!