Penguins

Kovacevic: Where’s the core (minus) four?

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The Lightning celebrate Tyler Johnson's Game 5 overtime goal Sunday night. -- DKPS

See, that's the problem with raising the bar, right?

A couple months back, it would have been beyond cool to consider the Penguins climbing within a couple wins of the Stanley Cup Final, squaring off against an opponent missing a couple of its top talents. It would have been storybook stuff.

Suddenly, it's imminent disaster. And there shouldn't be any soft-pedaling it.

Not after this stab to the heart turned out the lights at Consol Energy Center late Sunday night and maybe for the year:

 photo johnsonOT_zpsefziwrpu.gif

Why, just listen to what Patric Hornqvist had to say shortly after Tyler Johnson's overtime goal Sunday night lifted the Lightning to a 4-3 victory in Game 5 and a 3-2 lead in this Eastern Conference final, "If we play the way we can, we'll be fine. We'll be back here for a Game 7. There's no doubt in my mind about that."

Did you get that?

No, not the pseudo-guarantee, but the part where it's underscored that what's transpired so far has been wholly unacceptable.

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