by Tony on 06/04/09 at 01:06 PM ET
The first was Game Six vs. the Flyers in Philly with the Pens up 3-2. The Penguins did not want that series forced to a seventh game, even if it was at home. They won 5-3 and closed out the series in enemy territory.
Then came Game Three at the Igloo vs. Washington with the Caps up 2-0. The Pens won 3-2 in OT, won Game Four as well and eventually blew out the Caps in Game Seven, again in enemy territory.
The Canes’ series really didn’t have a pivotal game, maybe Game Three in Raleigh (but we all know they won solely because of my playoff beard in attendance).
Tonight’s Game Four is the latest Game of the Year for the Pens. Win tonight, unlike last year, and all bets are off, we’ve got a series. Lose, like last year, and for all intents and purposes, it’s over.
We’re going to find out if the Pens will show the hockey world that they have a legitimate shot at winning the Cup, or if the Wings simply say “that’s enough” and put the Penguins on the brink of elimination.
Will it happen ?? Only time will tell, but it appears on the surface that the Penguins at least know the importance of not easing back on the intensity. The Igloo will be rocking, that’s a given. But the Penguins simply cannot afford to get outplayed like they did in Game Four and expect that they’ll escape with another win. The Wings are way too good to expect that, and quite frankly, the hockey gods just won’t let that happen again.
But winning Game Four and thus knotting the series up at two puts the pressure squarely on the Wings’ collective shoulders. You can’t argue very much with the notion that the Penguins could have came away from at least one, maybe two of the first two games of the series. At a bare minimum, the Penguins were right in both games at the Joe. Get this series to 2-2, and the Penguins will have all the momentum going back to Detroit.
It’s going to be interesting to see how much Pavel Datsyuk’s expected return will boost the Wings. Of course, we’re talking about a Hart Trophy finalist, but one that is hobbled. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if Datsyuk is indeed back tonight, that the Pens will be targeting him. Rugged forwards like Matt Cooke and Chris Kunitz will be surely on the lookout for #13.
We’re also going to see if the series’ superstars continue to be relatively silent on the scoresheet, or if one of them finally breaks out. Former Penguin Marian Hossa (2 assists) and Pens’ captain Sidney Crosby (1 assist) come to mind right away. Common sense dictates that if the Penguins are to be serious contenders for the Cup, Crosby is going to have to start lighting the lamp, or at a minimum have multiple assists.
It’s sure to be another great game, can’t wait for it to start.
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Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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