Fairy tale ride or not, all of the Pittsburgh Penguins' hard work will go to waste if they don't snap awake now and get to work.
One can argue that the Penguins came out much harder in Game One of this year's finals than last year. They weren't massively out-shot, created a bunch of quality chances and were much more responsible in their own zone, but does it really matter?
A 1-0 hole is a 1-0 hole, whether you lose 4-0 or 3-1, whether you were severely outplayed or you didn't really deserve to lose.
Although, come on. Two straight power-plays and they couldn't even come close to capitalizing against one of this season's weakest penalty kills?
Ron MacLean called Fleury awful last night on Hockey Night in Canada, which he wasn't. Fleury was very unlucky and made a few great saves to keep his team in the game. But, as a wise man once said, "you have to be good to get the lucky bounces." And the Penguins certainly weren't extraordinary last night.
Did the Pens deserve to lose? No, probably not. Especially with a very strong second period that was capped by great work by Chris Osgood and another last-minute fluky goal by the Red Wings.
Did the Wings deserve to win, then? Yes, absolutely. The Red Wings are a powerhouse and "to be the best, you have to beat the best."
The Pens did not do that yesterday.
It doesn't matter that you came back from a 3-0 deficit in Game Six against the Broad Street Bullies to clinch your series if Chris Osgood continues to outshine Marc-André Fleury and stones your superstars shift after shift after shift.
It doesn't matter that your captain lead his team to an astounding series win against his bitter rival and current league MVP if you prove to Marian Hossa that he made the right choice last year.
It doesn't matter that you swept your brother's team despite playing two out of four games in "the most intimidating arena" if you find yourself in the exact same position you were in a year ago.
Everyone is making a big deal about the underdog Penguins making the Finals for a second consecutive year after a less-than-stellar season. Injuries, a long stretch in 10th place, dismissals, you name it.
But, really, it doesn't matter. We all know what really matters now.
All of this was for today. Today's the day you start living, boys. Prove the world wrong.
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