In the end, the Penguins had more energy Friday night.
It allowed them to keep Detroit from getting into a rhythm offensively and get very many quality scoring chances. The end result was a 2-1 win and the third Stanley Cup championship in franchise history.
In a seven-game series, all things eventually cancel each other out. Bad bounces, bad calls, bad hair days, whatever; you can come to no other conclusion than Pittsburgh deserved to win this Cup.
When the first period of game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals was scoreless, Detroit was in trouble. As long as Pittsburgh hung around, the advantage would shift to them.
The Red Wings’ best opportunity to win tonight was to take control early as they did in previous wins.
From an overall series standpoint, the Wings’ best opportunity to take the cup was to finish the Pens off in five or six games. When Detroit was able to win the first two games of the series on consecutive nights, energy and exhaustion did not seem to be an issue.
Over time, however, it seems that it was an issue after all.
Five minutes and thirty-seven seconds of the second period of game four may well have been the turning point of this series. The Wings seemed tired and became error prone, giving up turnovers and three goals during that time frame.
With the Wings unable to steal a win on the road, the series became a best of three. The longer Pittsburgh forced Detroit to play hockey, the more the series worked to their advantage.
The Wings didn't have to worry about Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby as much as they did Maxime Talbot. He made the difference Friday night and in previous games.
On an intellectual level, this kind of series is good for the NHL. After losing the 2004-'05 season to a lockout, the league needed a matchup that people could rally behind.
Maybe Wings-Pens could be to the NHL what Celtics-Lakers was to the NBA over 20 years ago.
On an emotional, gut feeling level, obscenities don’t begin to describe how this feels to a Wings fan (like this author). The series may have been exciting to watch, but it means nothing without the Cup. Right now, there is no consolation in Hockeytown.
In fact, it would have been better to have never been in the finals than to lose it in this fashion.
Continuing to look at the finals from the eyes of a Wings fan raises some interesting questions: Will Detroit start adding more youth to their roster? Will Marian Hossa re-sign? After doing nothing in the finals, will the Wings want to re-sign him?
The well-known Chinese curse, ‘may you live in interesting times’, seems appropriate for this coming off season. It will definitely be interesting to see what changes the Detroit Red Wings make to their roster. Sometimes boredom is not such a bad thing.