Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Penguins will get it done

Yep. The Pittsburgh Penguins will win the Stanley Cup in game 7 on Friday night. This is not an opinion based on my personal dislike for the Detroit Red Wings. It is not a desire to see "someone else" win the Cup. It comes down to a couple of factors.

1-The home team has won every game in the Finals. This is a trend that is fairly unusual in the NHL these days. Gone are the home ice advantage rinks like the now gone Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium or the Aud in Buffalo. All 3 of those buildings had ice surfaces that were shorter than NHL regulation of 200 feet. That meant those teams could build their roster around their home surroundings, making it very tough on the visitors. The fact that home ice has held firm through the first 6 games is remarkable.

2-The Red Wings are the ones facing the pressure. The defending champs weren't supposed to let the series get this far. After racing out to the 2-0 lead, this was supposed to be a cake walk. The Penguins were supposed to take the sweep, get out of the way of the Red Wing zamboni, and like it. That was a memo that never made it to Dan Bylsma's dressing room. Pittsburgh, the underdog all the way, is playing with house money. They have nothing to lose, because nothing was expected of them. If they come out loose and relaxed in game 7, the Cup is theirs for the taking.

3-These are the 4th Finals for the Penguins in their history, and they have never been able to celebrate a championship on their home ice. They were eliminated in game 6 in last year's Finals. On Tuesday, they faced elimination, and fought back. Now that they will be on the road for game 7, history is on their side.

This series has been much closer than people want to admit. Save for the blowout in game 5, the hockey has been tough, and exciting. I am hoping for a close game, but I already know the end result.

The Penguins win win the first road game of the series, and thus, win the Stanley Cup.

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