BOSTON - The image of Pascal Dupuis sitting alone in the corner of the Pittsburgh Penguins locker room, alone with his thoughts and staring at the floor, told the story.
A sad end to a sad series.
They were all but guaranteed a trip to the Stanley Cup final.
In what will go down as one of the greatest disappointments in NHL history, the mighty Penguins – ranked No. 1 in the Eastern Conference this season, led by a recovered Sidney Crosby and bolstered by key veteran acquisitions for the playoffs – fell four straight times to the Boston Bruins, the last being a 1-0 loss Friday at TD Garden.
“No matter what is done at the (trade) deadline or not done at the deadline doesn’t make a difference,” said winger James Neal, sitting across the room from Dupuis. “Our expectation is to win a Stanley Cup and we came up short.”
The team with the greatest firepower in hockey in Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Chris Kunitz, along with trade acquisitions Jarome iginla and Brenden Morrow, could manage but two goals against the Bruins in the entire series.
Crosby, Malkin and the rest of the Penguins shook hands in a state of shock. Scoring goals with ease all season, they couldn’t find the back of the net when it mattered most.
“The expectation (was to win a Cup). To come up short doesn’t sit well with anybody,” admitted Crosby. “Three of the four games I felt like we probably could have come out with wins but we didn’t.
“We just missed those big plays where we get a power play goal or a key goal. We need the timing of those moments to come up with big plays and we didn’t.”
Perhaps, Tomas Vokoun summed it up best.
“It’s really disappointing,” he said. “We had a great team and we just didn’t get it done.”