By Jason Ioli
Okay everyone, lock the kids in the barn and put the cows to bed because….wait….because it’s game 5 of the Stanley cup Finals!
The Penguins were able to even the series at home when they defeated the Red Wings in games 3 and 4 from the friendly confines of the Igloo. But now they return to the cirque de Detroit that is Joe Lewis Arena and what amounts to another must win game for the Penguins. The thought of having to be there for a game seven, while not the end of the world, is not very appetizing. So to prevent that from happening, I present my seven star, two snaps up with a twist keys to the game.
First, Marc-Andre Fleury needs to be at the top of his game. The Flower needs to be like Jimmy “the Tulip” Tudeski in this game: calm, collected, lean, and mean. The Wings are going to come at him early and put shots on him like he’s a bar in a frat house. Flower needs to stand his ground and not get flustered. Even if they get one past him, he cannot get lose focus.
Second, the Pens need to be aggressive in the Wings side of the neutral zone. They cannot let the Wings get momentum coming out of their own zone. If they sit back at their own blue line, the Red Wing attackers will come at them and then be past them and in front of the net so fast it will seem like there is an excess of chronotons in the subatomic interstices. And not even a team of atomic supermen will be able to stop them. If they can interfere with the attack in the neutral zone, it will disrupt the attack and get the Wings off of their game. This will also open up opportunities for the Pens to counterattack and maybe get some odd man rushes.
Third, the Penguins need to control the puck in the offensive zone and keep the Wings back and playing defense. The Wings game plan is all about the attack, so if the Penguins can keep them in their own zone running around like cats after a laser pointer, they can get the Wings playing the Pens game.
So now all we can do is wait and see. Game time is slowly approaching and I am even considering mowing the grass to kill the time. I wanted to try and fit another pop culture reference into here, but I think if the Penguins can do this, they can win.
So they got that goin’ for them, which is nice.
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