The Pens are nearing the end of their journey. In tomorrow's game they face not only the possibility of losing The Cup on their home ice once again to the same team as last year, but also watching their former star player prove to the entire hockey world that he was right by going to Detroit. I'm telling you, if this is not enough motivation for Crosby and Malkin to show everyone they mean business I don't know what is.
Unfortunately the advantage is in Detroit's hands either way. Even if the Pens do the very same thing to Detroit on home ice and win 5-0, everyone will still think Detroit has the upper hand. Why? Because clearly Detroit doesn't like to lose at home. Everyone knows this.
The Pens did win in Detroit during the regular season this year. We all remember how Jordan Staal dug down deep and helped the Penguins come back from being down 5-2 to win in OT on a Fedetenko goal. That was a dagger to the heart of Wings fans. It was their first meeting since the finals and the Pens sent a message. But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
Tomorrow's game will be a game of emotion. The season is on the line. Good news is, the season is on the line at home in the 'burgh. The players themselves know you can feed off the crowd. They've been here before, and I don't necessarily mean last year...rather last week. After game 2 the mass consensus was this series was over. ESPN and the rest of them put article after article out of how much better the Wings were than the Pens. Then the Pens made it a series, gaining not only the momentum back but also the faith of the critics. Then the dreaded loss. Which put everyone who was standing up for the Pens back in their chairs in disbelief and criticism. Once again the articles of the masses have reverted back to saying the Wings are that much better and the series is over. So yes, they've been here before. But this time there is no silencing the critics, not unless they actually win The Cup. Like I said even if the Pens win tomorrow and win big, everyone will still write in favor of Detroit.
Now with all of that said, they need to keep the focus. Byslma has done a good job at keeping his team under control in tough emotional situations. He knows how to instill mental toughness into the guys. Sure the team took some bad penalties at the end of game 5. Crosby himself said that frustration set in. But now the Penguins have to forget what happened. They need to press on and rip off life's proverbial rear view mirror. The hockey gods can be swayed. This is not over.
P. S. Maybe winning at home is just not meant to be...
Flyers Series: Won - on the road.
Capitals Series: Won - on the road.
Hurricanes Series: Won - on the road.
Red Wings Series: ????
See a pattern here? Maybe...