Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Stanley Cup Finals Game #6

Detroit Red Wings (1) at Pittsburgh Penguins (2)

Detroit leads series 3-2.

This is the last game of the season at the Igloo. Let's take a moment to reflect on that.

The first game at the Igloo in the 07-08 season was against the Ducks, who had just won the Stanley Cup. The Pens won that game 5-4. They had a fantastic run at the end of the season at home, and it carried over into the playoffs.

The team has only one loss in the playoffs on home ice, and by most accounts, they have been a different team when playing in the friendly confines.

Just take a second to be grateful for all we've been privileged to see on the home ice this year.


All done?

That's good, because there's one more game to be played and it's easily the biggest of the year!

The Pens got a huge lift with their OT win on Monday night in Detroit. The Wings had to be stunned by that, as they were just 35 seconds from winning the Cup. They also couldn't beat Fleury in any of the OT sessions.

I see a chance for a trend to form with this game. If Fleury can continue his strong play, he can lead the Pens to victory in Game 6.

The Pens cannot afford to come out flat. They must press the issue and work with the same desire and intensity they showed in the previous three games.

Most people will say that the Red Wings are the "better team". However, in winning two of the previous three games, the Pens have shown that they can be the better team. The better team is defined as the one with more goals than their opponent when the game ends.

It doesn't matter how many faceoffs you win.

It doesn't matter how many hits you have.

It doesn't matter how many shots you take.

It only matters how many goals are on the board.

This is what the Pens have been telling themselves, and it has been working.

Here's what I'm telling the team if I'm the coach:
  • Keep the Wings off of the power play.
  • Stay strong along the boards.
  • Show the relentless desire that you demonstrated both in taking the lead in Game 5 and in getting the tying and winning goals (especially the Talbot goal, when all of the Wings faithful in Joe Louis were against you).
  • Protect your goalie.
  • Be opportunistic.
Do those things, and we'll be headed back to Detroit for Game 7.

Both Malone and Gonchar are expected to play. That's great news for the Pens. They need them both.

Let's Go Pens!


squawky said...

Well said... now we just hope Therrien says something similar and the Pens take it to heart.

One things for sure... Mellon Arena is going to be rocking when the puck drops tomorrow.

Will said...

I was thinking the same thing squawky... The Igloo is going to be insane. Can't wait for the game.


Paul said...

Boy I hope they turn this around. It's gonna be one heck of a 3rd period. I expect the Pens to come out playing with their hearts on their sleeves.