Wow. Euphoria is an understatement. Hey, remember this commercial?
Oh, yeah. The circle becomes complete.
So what in the world happened tonight? How did we do the impossible and beat Detroit in their own barn? Well, the way I see it, we did two things.
1) We capitalized on Detroit gifts. The Wings were turning the puck over like a ’57 Chevy. We were able to cash in on two of them, and that’s all we needed.
2) We flooded the inside on defense to limit the Red Wings cross ice passes. A lot of the goals Fleury has given up this series have been rebounds and cross-ice passes that Marc-Andre can’t get to. This time we forced them to hurt us from the outside, and it worked.
Everyone on the team played poorly last time we were in the Joe, and everyone played outstanding this time around. A total team effort. The Wings got their chances in this one, but no one can say the Pens didn’t deserve the win. Best of all, you can’t claim Bettman gave the cup to the Pens. Detroit was starting to get a serious case of Philly-itis. By which I mean starting to blame losses on the theory that Gary Bettman is giving victories to the Pens so Sidney Crosby can win a cup and they can market the heck out of him. Just look at this cartoon in the Detroit Free Press today:
That’s classy. But with an advantage in penalties (3-2) in the deciding game, its hard to defend that theory.
So how about Max Talbot being the hero? Now he really CAN call himself a superstar. He’s been flying around like a maniac throughout these finals, and he’s been consistently pushing himself. I have to say that I’m happy to see him get rewarded for his hard work. He deserves this.
You’ve also got to tip your cap to Fleury. I have no idea how he didn’t get to be one of the 3 stars of the game. As I said before, the Pens forced to Wings to take some shots from distance. When you do that, you put pressure on your goalie to make the save. And Fleury made almost all of them (one hiccup can be excused, I guess). He even made a game clincher with 1 second left that was all desperation. I have to admit, were I in that situation, I probably would have been thinking about skating the trophy and not making the save and blown it. But that’s why he’s an NHL goalie and I’m not.
So Pittsburgh gets its 3rd Stanley Cup trophy. I think the 80’s Oilers comparisons will continue to roll in, which is a bit harsh. They’ve won one trophy. Let’s not claim this as the start of a dynasty quite yet. But it’s still a great win for the players and the city. Enjoy it. On my way home tonight, I saw a lot of people doing just that. A LOT of people.
…and for the record. I had a huge grin on my face when they showed Hossa in the handshake line.