Mayday! Mayday! Stanley Cup Finals Rematch in Jeopardy

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Mayday! Mayday! Stanley Cup Finals Rematch in Jeopardy
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Why wouldn't these two teams want to return to the Stanley Cup Finals?

The Pittsburgh Penguins want nothing more than to make a return trip this season.

The same can be said for the Detroit Red Wings.

The Penguins want another shot at the Red Wings.  The Red Wings feel their experience would rise to the top again.

After Detroit defeated Pittsburgh in Game Six last year, some thought an instant collision course was born, one that would bring the two teams back together again in the fight for Lord Stanley.

Obstacles are in the way for that to happen, and it won't be easy for either team to dispose of them.

With Detroit falling to the Anaheim Ducks in Game Six 2-1, the Stanley Cup Champions must return to the Joe to try and finishing the job Thursday night in Game Seven.

With the way Game Six ended at the horn, it looks like the Ducks are more than ready.

It's been a remarkable journey for Anaheim thus far, settling for the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference and facing a San Jose Sharks team in round one, a team that was unstoppable at home.

Anaheim didn't fall for it, winning the first two in the Tank and never looking back.

Detroit had it easy, facing a Columbus Blue Jackets squad with a rookie goaltender and a cast of players lacking playoff experience on the resume.

Columbus was handled quite masterfully.

So what could be better than playing a seventh seed in the first round and earning a battle with the eighth seed in the second round? 

Maybe the casual fan didn't take notice.

Anaheim is only an eighth seed on paper.

Detroit knows the skill level of their opponent, and felt the grit Anaheim brings along with it after the conclusion of Game Six.

It was the stars of Anaheim against the stars of Detroit in an emotional medley of fisticuffs.

Detroit got the worst of it.

And they'll get the worst of it in Game Seven if they don't take being in the confines of home ice to their advantage.

Expect a great ending to this second round series, as Anaheim has held their own against two of the best teams in the NHL.

Pittsburgh also faces a Game Seven after failing to win Game Six at home against the Washington Capitals.  The task at hand is even more difficult, returning to Washington where winning at the Verizon Center is the final chance to grab a ticket into the Eastern Conference Finals.

Everyone knew this was going to be a great series.

Three overtimes.  Only one game separated by more than one goal.  Countless lead changes. 

It all culminates with one final bout, an epic finish that will be remembered for years to come.

And for one team, they won't want to remember it.

Pittsburgh has outshot Washington in each game thus far, and has missed countless opportunities to extend leads and put the game away.  Marc-Andre Fleury has been shaky, but he is due to steal a game. 

Washington has relied heavily on the scoring production of Alexander Ovechkin, who dished out three assisted in their Game Six overtime victory.  They've benefited from Ovechkin not only scoring goals, but creating them as well.

Simeon Varlamov has been quite a story.  The rookie netminder has been stellar, and he essentially stole Game One from Pittsburgh.  Varlamov has been shaky in his last three games, giving up a total of 13 over that span.

Expect a duel between the goaltenders, and anticipate an unsung hero contributing to a wild finish.

So Wednesday night we get our first glimpse of whether or not the Stanley Cup Rematch is still in place.  Thursday night could tell the tale of two new teams who will fight for Lord Stanley should both Pittsburgh and Detroit fail to advance.

Just another storyline from a historic playoff year, one leaving fans at the edge of their seats each and every night.

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