Pens will pay price for another failure

"We didn't score at the big moments in big games and that falls on us and our top players. We just didn't get it done. That's the bottom line," Neal said.

"It's disappointing. We had a great team in here and a great opportunity to do good things and we just came up short; it's a missed opportunity."

And there's the rub.

If this was just one missed opportunity, it would be one thing. But when so many of these scenes have played out in this locker room over the past five years, it's more than that; it is an identity.

And here's the thing: Had the Penguins found a way to win Tuesday night, they'd be heading to their second straight final four appearance and fourth conference final berth in seven seasons; all of a sudden the team's identity would have been viewed through a different prism.

But since that didn't happen, a steep price will be paid, and it won't be just for losing this game to the New York Rangers but for the culture that has grown up around this talented team that has found ways to lose games like this every spring.

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