Before I get into this article, I want to make a quick statement: Ed Olczyk is one of the worst broadcasters I have ever heard during an NHL game. He is so biased that you can taste it when he speaks. Nothing the Penguins did were because they made great plays according to him—it was because Detroit made a mistake. Hey Olczyk, do not get mad and act like an jerk because you could not coach No. 87.
OK, rant over now—time for what this article is about—Game Seven.
It is hard to imagine that before Dan Bylsma and the trade deadline that the Pittsburgh Penguins would be playing on the last possible day of the NHL season.
It was, actually, even hard to believe that they would be playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They turned things around and played a magnificent final few months of the season and earned a spot in the playoffs.
After games one and two went Detroit's way, it was looking as though the ghost of Stanley Cup past was bearing down on Pittsburgh to give the players and fans another dose of a championship loss.
The Pens dug deep and pulled even after two hard fought games at home.
Then came the blow up of Game Five. Pittsburgh was caught with their pants down, and were completely frustrated.
After that game ended, the season looked to be a few days away from being over.
Game Six was a complete 180-degree turn around. Pittsburgh showed their true colors and fought through adversity, and, somehow, they pulled the series to an even three apiece.
Now Friday will be the pinnacle of what a championship series should be. One game to let everything go, and to leave nothing, because after Friday night, both teams' seasons will be over.
The only thing that will be different is that one team will be celebrating the end of the season, and the other will be left wondering what could have been.
Friday night will come down to a single question—what goaltender will perform at a higher level of excellence?
Will the young Marc-Andres Fleury be able to handle the pressure of a Game Seven?
Has the length of the series tired Chris Osgood?
Whoever can stay composed, and can make some big saves early, will be the goalie who gets the win.
The Penguins need to do one thing Friday night, and that is to get Joe Louis Arena out of the game early. The Penguins need to score within the first eight minutes. If they do that, I believe they will be able to take the air right out of the arena and control the flow of the game.
Friday night is going to feel like 60 minutes of overtime, when your heart stops for brief second with every shot because you are just waiting for it to go in.
The stars will shine on both sides Friday, but hopefully they align just right for the Penguins, and the city of Pittsburgh and the franchise will raise its third Stanley Cup.
In the words of Mike Lange, "Lord Stanley, Lord Stanley, give me the brandy!"
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