During their stay in Washington final week, a Pittsburgh Penguins ornate their locker room with yellow-and-black banners and towels, an bid to emanate a familiar, gentle atmosphere. Some of a placards boasted about a Penguins’ uninterrupted Stanley Cup titles, reminders of both their new achievements and, perhaps, a high cost of them.
A lot can be pronounced about a Penguins’ playoff supremacy a final dual years, zero of them easier or truer than this: They have played a ruin of a lot of hockey. The fruits of that labor are dual soaring trophies. If there is a cost – and a Penguins insist there isn’t – it could be surfacing this spring.
Saturday night behind in Washington, in Game 5 of their second-round array opposite a Capitals, a Penguins will play their 60th playoff diversion of a past 3 seasons. In reduction than 3 years, they have played an additional 73 percent of a full deteriorate in playoff games, that distant overtake regular-season games in both physicality and intensity.
Only a Nashville Predators, whom a Penguins vanquished in a Finals final year, come within cheering distance. They are set to play their 47th playoff diversion of a past 3 years Saturday night. Only 4 teams – including a Capitals, who have played 35 – have played half as many playoff games as Pittsburgh.
The accumulation of hockey has led many to consternation if, or when, a Penguins would be penalized with fatigue. History shows a problem of Pittsburgh’s task, either sleepy serves as a primary obstacle: No organisation given a 1985 Edmonton Oilers has seemed in 3 uninterrupted Stanley Cup Finals.
Still, Pittsburgh Coach Mike Sullivan pronounced he approaching no carry-over effect. If anything, he believes a Penguins’ past dual playoff marches taught them how to hoop a many stresses and to conclude a compared grind.
“To win championships in this league, it’s a earthy and mental and psychological challenge, an romantic challenge,” Sullivan said. “It’s going to plea we in each capacity. That’s since it’s so rewarding, since it’s so formidable to win. we trust a success a organisation has had over a final integrate seasons has encouraged a organisation to be hungrier, to wish it more.
“As I’ve pronounced all along here, one of a things we unequivocally like about a organisation is, no one’s looking for excuses. We’re looking for answers. We’re looking for a subsequent plea we’re looking to overcome as a group. we see a organisation right now that’s inspired to win, and we know how tough it is.”
Sullivan pronounced a Penguins would concentration on a subsequent opponent, a subsequent game, a subsequent duration only. The doubt of sleepy has hovered around Pittsburgh all season, and a Penguins might be flourishing sleepy of rejecting it.
“We’re not unequivocally giving any arrange of suspicion into all those things we guys consider about,” Sullivan said.
Those outward a organisation trust an outcome is inevitable. NBC researcher and former Chicago Blackhawks star Jeremy Roenick connected a Penguins’ effort with a early-series absences of stars Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin, observant both had “taken a beating” over a past seasons. Any hockey season, for any team, is going to furnish injuries. But a Penguins might be some-more receptive than an normal team.
“It unequivocally takes a toll,” Roenick said. “There’s no question. You can’t play as prolonged as they have and take a punishment that they have for 3 seasons and not have it locate adult to we during some point. we consider they’re intensely well-prepared. we consider they’re intensely well-coached. They take caring of themselves. But a physique can usually take so much. we consider what they’ve finished so distant has been amazing.”
If low playoff runs influenced a Penguins, it might have already happened. The Penguins stood during 19-18-3 after 40 games, and some players pronounced adjusting to a routine of a unchanging deteriorate after a passion of a postseason led to inconsistency.
“I consider it’s some-more mentally a factor,” Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta said. “You’ve got to have that mind-set going into each game, there’s never an easy game. If we don’t move your A game, it’s tough to win in this league. In a unchanging season, we were struggling a bit. we don’t consider we started branch around until January, Dec time. So we consider that’s when we satisfied how tough it is to win.
“I don’t consider during this time of a deteriorate it unequivocally matters. It’s a playoffs. Everybody is so vehement to play, we don’t consider we feel any sleepy during all.”
The Capitals, as a team, know zero about recuperating from a low playoff run. But maestro defenseman Brooks Orpik won a 2009 Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh, that came after a Penguins’ detriment in a 2008 Finals. He concluded with Maatta’s comment – a mental jump is some-more suggestive than a earthy toll.
“Guys are in such good shape, we consider maybe a mental sleepy plays in as a cause some-more than a tangible earthy fatigue,” Orpik said. “They’ve won it dual years in a row. They substantially didn’t feel that sleepy final year. From their coaching staff, they substantially did a good job, had a good diversion devise going into final year and this year, where they substantially knew they wouldn’t be full appetite going into a deteriorate and kind of gait themselves. You hatred to ever use that terminology, though we come off those runs, that’s substantially a intelligent thing to do. I’m certain they collect their spots when they can pull their guys and when they need a small rest.”
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