Kukla's Korner

He Asked, I Answered, Round 6: On the Perceived Existence of Momentum, a Game 7 Forecast & Much More

Last night, I posted the final set of answers from Brian Metzer of FromThePoint.com to my questions after the huge game six win for the Tampa Bay Lightning that has pushed this epic series to where it deserves to be, in my opinion: A true must-win for both sides in what should be a classic game seven.

Today, we’ll visit the flip-side one last time, with my responses to his most recent inquiries. This one forced me to think extensively, including a reversal of my original prediction for the series, partially by force (can’t well end in six now, can it?) and partially because I’ve bought in to what one team is selling (spoiler there?) Anywho… Read on:

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BM: It is pretty obvious that the Lightning are carrying a significant amount of momentum into Game 7, however the Penguins have a good bit of experience when it comes to clinching in those emotional, pressure packed games. One need only look at their Stanley Cup run in 2009 to see that, as they won huge Game 7s against both the Capitals and Red Wings en route to winning it all. Do you think that the wave of momentum that the Lightning is riding is enough to overcome the Penguins perceived experience advantage in Game 7s?

JJ: I will start to answer this by letting you know of what I am absolutely, positively, 100% certain, having watched this team as closely as I have under Guy Boucher. They will treat game seven as nothing more than their next task at hand. Their coach doesn’t allow for anything else.

All season long, no matter how high or how low the team was supposed to be, Boucher made a point to reinforce the idea of getting the latest result, good or bad, out of the collective heads of the players (and his own as well) as soon as possible and re-focusing on the next one. I seem to recall several postgame pressers ending with something along the lines of, “I’ve already forgotten about this one and I’m focusing on [next opponent] as soon as I leave this room.”

Now then, all that being said, there’s no getting around the fact that this will be the single biggest game in the careers of many current Lightning players. What that does, even to the most-disciplined individual, is a total unknown until, well, until it isn’t. So, there’s always that very real wild card variable that could skew things one way or another.

But, look at that… I haven’t even answered your question, have I?

Consider again what I did say – side-stepping the actual query and all – and you should expect of his players. My answer is very much the same:

Is the wave of momentum itself enough to beat Pittsburgh at home in game seven? Absolutely not. The Lightning need to bring far more than just perceived momentum to the table tomorrow night if they hope to have any chance whatsoever. Forget game six. Forget momentum. It’s one game, with the season on the line. Period. That’s how both teams have to approach it, in my opinion and, having been able to do that on multiple occasions under Boucher (albeit, each time, with far less on the line than there will be tomorrow), the Bolts are capable of doing just that.

***

For the rest of the latest Q&A from Metz and I – and that juicy new prediction I hinted at – scoot on over to FromThePoint.com.

And join me throughout tonight’s game seven on Twitter for ongoing reaction as events unfold.

JJ
jj@kuklaskorner.com
JJ on Twitter

Filed in: Pittsburgh Penguins, Tampa Bay Lightning, | Beasts of the Southeast | Permalink
 

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