By Jason Ioli
As I wait impatiently for game seven to get here, all I keep hearing from the analysts, reporters, is how the odds are stacked against the Pens and that no one seems to think they can overcome them. They are not saying the have no chance to win, but the fact that they keep throwing out more and more SCF game seven facts makes it look like they think it is in the bag for the Red Wings.
The most popular of these game 7 facts is that of the 14 SCF game sevens in the history of the NHL, the home team has won 12 of them. In fact, the last time the road team won a game seven was in 1971 when the Canadians defeated the Blackhawks. That Canadians team was also the last team to win the cup after being down 2-0 in the finals, as the Penguins were. And I believe that only happened one other time as well.
But the Penguins have been beating the odds throughout these playoffs. Everyone remember how Cam Ward of the Canes was unstoppable in game 2’s? He lost to the Pens. Remember how the Canes never lose when Eric Staal scores a goal? His goal in game 4 did not matter.
But there is one factoid about these playoffs that I feel will make the difference if the final game. When leading after two periods, the Red Wings are 9-0 and the Penguins are 8-0. Simply put, score early and get the lead. Apparently both teams are good at holding a lead late in the game. So it would seem that the team that can get ahead will stay ahead. And again, it will very likely come down to the second period. Too many times in this series, that has been the period where the game is decided. Whether it is the Penguins scoring three goals in under six minutes in game four, or the Red Wings scoring three power play goals in game five, the second period is when the games have been decided.
But as I have even said way too many times in the last two days, anything can happen in game seven. So unfortunately, everything above really doesn’t mean jack squat. Nothing that occurred before Friday night makes any difference now. The only thing that matters is how each guy on the ice performs when the time is upon them.
“And I can sum it all up in just one word: courage, dedication, daring, pride, pluck, spirit, grit, mettle, and G-U-T-S, *guts*!” That will determine who hoists the Stanley Cup at the end of the game.
Thanks McCroskey, for summing that up for me.
By Jason Ioli