Not many teams in professional sports these days are able to work their way into their respective sports finals or championship series in lose, then make it back the following season.
It is not out of the realm of possibility that the Penguins fortunes could change and even have this series tied by the end of the week it is not likely though.
Here then are five reasons why the Penguins who have their backs to the wall are doomed and on the brink of possible temporary extinction.
Reason One: The Red Wings All Together
That's right! I would hate to say it, but the Red Wings are just so ridiculously better then the Penguins it is not even close.
There is so much they can do that the Penguins cannot. If the Red Wings need a score, they have the personnel to get out and get one. Need a penalty kill? No problem. Whatever they need they get, and most of the time that is all the time.
The Red Wings are like the San Antonio Spurs of the NHL. A great group of guys, talented, but more importantly, they know how to win and can be counted on to do it. They have one of the best scouting staffs in the NHL.
Not only do they have their way of getting the best players in the world, and they develop the ones who aren't into some of the most premier players in the NHL.
Reason Two: The Red Wings Have a More Professional Attitude
The Red Wings go about their business with class. They are the consummate professionals.
When they are behind, they keep their confidence up and their emotions under control. If they are down, you do not see it reflected on the ice—unlike the actions of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin after Games One and Two.
There is a way to handle heat of the moment. The Red Wings know how to handle it and the Penguins do not.
It looks like the Red Wings have the emotional advantage at this point. If the Penguins think they can get this series turned around they have to be able to their emotions under control—among other things.
Reason Three: Chris Osgood and the Red Wings defense
Osgood has been money for the Red Wings this postseason. He was good during last season's Cup run, as he has been in past seasons, but I do not ever remember him being this good before. The most amazing part of it is he is 36 and he is playing like he has a motor that could carry him for the next 20 seasons.
You also have to give credit to his defense, because they have two of the best players in the world on the blue line, and they are flat out shutting down Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and other Penguins.
Osgood is doing a great job by himself, though. Look at some of the one-on-one shots he has turned away or any of the saves he has made period. He and his defense are making plays—unlike what Marc Andre Fluery and the Penguins are doing on their side of the ice.
I am sure that it must be frustrating for Fluery to be giving up some of the goals that he is, because some of them may be off weird bounces and hops—but the fact is he is not getting much help from his offense or defense right now. Plus, let's gives the Wings offense a little bit of credit. Baptism by fire is what Fluery is experiencing right now.
Reason Four: The Difference Between The Two Teams Talents
This goes back to my first point, but it is also showing on the ice as well. The Red Wings players, while they may be aging, still have talent and still are in some of the best years. Most of their players have championship experience—and those who may not have those who do around them.
The Penguins have one of the best players in the world Sidney Crosby, accompanied by one of the best young players in the game Evgeni Malkin, and then some older players that were the some of the better players in the NHL—but who are now at the end of their game.
Take, for example, Bill Guerin, Miroslav Satan, and Sergei Gonchar. They are not bad players, but they are certainly not in the class of the veterans Detroit has. They are old and not able to do much at this point—and it is showing.
You simply cannot take a roster like the Penguins into championship competition against a team like the Red Wings and be successful. It just will not happen!
Reason Five: The Road to a Stanley Cup Championship Comes Through Hockeytown!
Well, at least this year it does. The Red Wings are very good at defending their home ice—as they were in the past as well. Even if the Penguins are able to turn this series around, the best chance they may have at winning the Cup is to send this series the distance.
That, unfortunately for the Penguins, would mean a Game Seven in Detroit. But the chances of that happening are very slight.
Don't think the killer instinct of the Red Wings will allow that to happened. For everything I have seen, these two teams have become very bitter rivals—and the Red Wings would love nothing more then to break the Penguins and their fans hearts by winning the Cup on the ice at Mellon Arena again.
And what better fashion to do that in than a sweep?
Are the Penguins on the verge of a temporary extinction? I would hate to say this, but it looks so! Detroit is the superior team, and I just do not see that there is anything that Penguins can do to create a better matchup. They just do not have the personnel to hang with the Red Wings.
While it would be very frustrating for the Pens and their fans to lose to the Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals for a second consecutive year—be it by sweep, or a matter of five or six games—it would not be all that bad. Why? It would be learning how to be the best from the best.
It would give the Penguins a chance to evaluate the team from the front office, to the coaching staff, to the players they have. They can look at what the Red Wings have, and develop a system that would be similar.
Baptism by fire is what the Penguins are experiencing. They will be better for it, and in the long run it may even lead them into their own string of consecutive titles.
Look out, Pittsburgh—even in defeat, your future could be so bright, you just might have to wear shades!