Penguins fans, rejoice!
Publicly, many Penguins fans may have claimed they wanted to see a rematch with the Washington Capitals to reach the Stanley Cup Finals. They wanted to put Alex Ovechkin in his place and shut his arrogant mouth with checks into the boards of Mellon Arena one last time.
Privately, Pittsburgh fans can breathe much easier now, thanks to a stunning comeback from a 3-1 deficit by the Montreal Canadiens against Washington in the first-round playoff matchup.
With the exception of Washington, D.C., and Montreal, Pittsburgh fans made up the largest contingent of viewers of the Capitals/Canadiens matchup. The opening round showdown was a series for the ages, and one that was nearly decided early as Washington had gone up three games.
But with the efficiency of a government agency, Washington’s power play stunk up the joint and cost them a run to the Cup.
It was supposed to be the year of the Capitals.
Every indication pointed towards a Stanley Cup in our nation’s capital. They had demoralized the Penguins all season, both at home and on the road. Alex Ovechkin had been a one-man wrecking crew in the season series, scoring 10 points in those 4 games.
The seven-game Washington-Pittsburgh series last year, although tightly contested, seemed destined to go the Penguins way.
A Stanley Cup was brought home to Pittsburgh, and all was well in the “Burgh.”
But injuries derailed the Penguins late in the 2010 season, and they limped into the playoffs as a No. 4 seed after holding the No. 2 seed for much of the season.
It was destined to be the year of the Capitals, or so it seemed.
One hot goalie later, in the form of Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak, and the Stanley Cup is ripe for a return to Pittsburgh.
So again, I say Penguins fans, rejoice!
Just be careful what you wish for as that hot goalie and the Montreal Canadiens invade Pittsburgh to try and pull off another upset.