When Dan Bylsma got fired three years ago, a lot of people in Pittsburgh went bananas. How in the world were the Penguins going to fire the guy that became the fastest head coach ever to record 250 wins? Just how on God’s green earth were they going to part ways with the same guy that helped steer the Penguins to six consecutive post seasons, including a Stanley Cup in his first season? Well, in case last year’s Cup run didn’t fade away the memories of Disco Dan, last night was another friendly reminder as to why that decision was made to kick Byslma’s ass out of Pittsburgh.
With the Sabres absolutely cruising to a 3-0 lead after the 1st period in last night’s game, Buffalo appeared to be in complete control. The Penguins, on the other hand, looked like vomit. The entire team looked flat as they were on their way to getting embarrassed in their own building – a very uncommon sight, especially against a shitty opponent like the Sabres who are currently outside of the playoff picture.
With shit hitting the fan, Pens Head Coach Mike Sullivan knew he needed to make an adjustment. To start the second period, Sully made a decision that wouldn’t have even entered Bylsma’s brain had he still been coaching the Pens. He decided to replace Matt Murray with Marc Andre Fleury in net to give the Pens a little spark. And holy shit did it ever. Before you knew it, the Pens scored two PP goals and began breathing down the Sabres necks after two periods.
When the coaches came out to the benches to start the 3rd period, you could literally see Bylsma’s brain function shut off. It was kind of like watching Andy Reid use timeouts during the last couple minutes of a football game. Just utter confusion. Everybody in the entire building knew the Pens were going to complete the comeback and win the game. Hell, I’m pretty sure Sabres fans felt the same way (they are still getting to know Disco Dan after all). Byslma was not going to make any adjustments, and the Penguins knew it. With less than four minutes to go in the 3rd, the Pens proceeded to step on the Sabres throats as Guentzel and Sherry scored less than a minute apart to cap off the comeback victory.
In a way, I sort of feel bad for Sabres fans. This was the third time they lost by blowing a lead in the 3rd period in their past five games. Just an absolutely brutal stat. Unfortunately, that’s just the reality when Dan Bylsma’s your coach, though. The man doesn’t know how to make an adjustment to save his life, and I can only hope Sabres fans are beginning to realize that.