Trying to put the Penguins’ potential letdown in historical context

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“It’s hard to come up with another really good team in any sport that crumbled the way these Penguins are,” writes Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Ron Cook in a scathing piece published today.

If you haven’t heard enough bad things about the Pens, the column is worth a read.

But it also made us wonder how the Penguins’ letdown, especially if they get swept, would stack up against other famous letdowns.

And we mean letdowns, which aren’t necessarily collapses. For example, the Bruins blew a 3-0 lead to the Flyers in 2010, but the B’s were the No. 6 seed in the East. Nobody considered them Stanley Cup favorites. Plus at least they made it to the second round.

Nor are we simply talking about first-round upsets. For example, it was definitely a letdown for the Red Wings when they lost in the first round to the Oilers in 2006, but we don’t recall Detroit losing its collective mind like we’re seeing from Pittsburgh.

Consider:

1. The Pens were the Cup favorites

2. They’re on the verge of getting swept

3. They’re on the verge of getting swept out of the first round

4. And above all, they’re going down in flames. Blowing leads. Surrendering 20 goals in three games. Losing all focus. Their owner is reportedly embarrassed by their antics. Really, it’s the textbook definition of a meltdown.

The one thing you can say in Pittsburgh’s defense is that Philadelphia is a very good team.

But I’m trying to think of another team from any sport that has all those four points covered, and I’m having trouble.

If you can think of any, please do share.