If I may, let me be redundant …
“At least four more near heart attacks. At least four more chances to cheer on the Penguins. At least four more chances to avoid the Pirates.”
This win gives Penguins fans everywhere so much more than that, though. It gives the fanbase a continued sense of identity. Had the Pens lost to Washington, how would we have reacted? So many of us are used to seeing and beating the Capitals to start the spring.
One game could have changed all of that. It also could have changed the nation’s perspective on who is the better player/leader: Sidney Crosby or Alex Ovechkin. With the win, Crosby will retain that title.
The list goes on.
The Penguins reversed history this year by first making the playoffs and then winning in the first round. For years, no Stanley Cup Finals runner up has done either of those.
Had Pittsburgh lost, no one would have cared about the success. To be honest, most Pens fans wouldn’t have cared either.
Likely that stat would have continued, being adjusted to say that no team has made it past the second round. Rather, the Penguins are following the path of Wayne Gretzky’s Edmonton Oilers squad that lost in the 1983 finals, only to come back and win the cup the very next year (The Islanders beat Edmonton in ’83 and then were beaten by them in ’84. Preview of things to come? Pens vs. Wings Rd. 2?).
The franchise’s identity has continued in other ways as well. Playoff success was created by the likes of Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr and Tom Barrasso. Now it is continued by Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury.
This is the first time the Penguins have reached the Eastern Conference Finals in back-to-back years since the back-to-back Cup wins in 1991 & 1992.
In two seasons the Penguins have won five playoff series. It took the Penguins from 1996, a year they lost in the Eastern Conference Finals to the Florida Panthers, until 2001, when they lost to New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Finals, to get five series wins (they won a total of six in that span).
I’m all over the place right now, but that’s what a series like this one does to people. You don’t know how to act, how to feel. I spent all day Wednesday with knots in my stomach. My heart was racing, palms were sweating.
As the show on Versus came to an end just before the game started, I couldn’t sit still. I was doing that thing where you fidget your legs up and down while sitting. My friends urged me to drink a beer and cool off, but I couldn’t.
No one expected a 6-2 win. It was the biggest surprise of this whole series.
Game seven wins are moments when you realize the beauty of life. Game seven losses are what make people jump off the top of buildings. I’m just glad we — Penguins nation — were on the winning side.
Now we move on to a final four that could be Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit and Chicago. Talk about hockey bliss!!!
Who do you want if you’re the Pens? After watching this series, I don’t think it matters.
LET’S GO PENS!
Chris | PPT