By Dylan Howlett (@DylanHowlett)
For General Manager Ray Shero, they were the best-laid plans.
The Penguins were on their way to rattling off 15 straight wins (they didn’t lose a game in the month of March). They were well on their way to the Eastern Conference’s top seed (a cakewalk that saw them clear second-place Montreal by nine points). And, in Shero’s mind, they could be better.
He orchestrated three trades before the deadline, made another shrewd move for a talented Carolina castoff, Jussi Jokinen, and turned the Penguins’ pool of talent into an ocean.
And then everything went awry.
Can Sidney Crosby and the Pens avenge a bitter end to the 2013 playoffs? Jeff Skinner and the Canes will do their best to stand in Pittsburgh’s way (Photo Credit: Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images).
Sidney Crosby took a puck to his jaw, but would return for the team’s second playoff game against the Islanders. Playoff demons once again chewed up and spit out Marc-Andre Fleury, who would leave the crease...