Alright...why then do the Pens lack that killer instinct?
I'm going to throw the following up for discussion as to answering this question. Keep in mind, none of these maybe right, but I think it may be worth discussing:
1) Coaching: Players this year according to Tim Benz are saying that Therrien is not as harsh on them as he was in the past. This was the Bill Cowher effect after a while. After chewing his players out for years, he became a more friendly coach. Maybe this is affecting the drive of this team late if he's not pushing them or becoming too lax.
2) The Captain, yes, Sidney Crosby: Before you jump down my throat about this and how he captained this team to the SC team last year, he also had Malone, Roberts, Gonchar, Whitney, etc. Sid isn't surrounded by the veteran leadership he had from last year. Though the team was handed over to him, is he really being a captain at his current age? Does the team need an outspoken veteran?
3) Immaturity: Does this team look around in the locker room and see all of the talent and believe that's good enough to compete night in and night out? When the old SC champion Pens had all that talent and more in the locker room, they also had the Coffey's, Trottier's, Mullen's, etc in the room as well. That team was all business. That team was filled with veterans that knew they may never make it back to the SC again and how hard it was to get there. That's what Roberts was trying to instill in the team last year and why he was so pi$$ed when he was benched in game 1 for BGL. Does this team lack the maturity of a champion?
Again, this is all for discussion and not meant to cut down the team. I think many of these issues are going to work themselves out as they grow as a team. This team is going to be a young powerhouse once they put it all together and I'm thankful that Shero is inking all of the young guys to long deals.