I realize that by writing this I am taking a big risk. I realize that there’s a very good chance I will be proven wrong just eight hours after I post this. I realize that by doing this blog I may, in fact, be angering the karma gods and thus sealing the Penguins fate. But despite all that I am going to say it anyway…I still think this series is going to a seventh game.
The Penguins were embarassed in Game One and Game Two and then won a great game in Game Three. Game Four was not a strong game for either team but Detroit got the win and now have a chance to win the Stanley Cup on their home ice in Game Five.
However, I think the Penguins will win tonight. I think that they are done being afraid of losing and are going to play “who gives a damn” hockey tonight. To give you an example of what I mean I will tell a story.
I am a guy that likes to play golf but I do so very rarely and I am not very good at it. I go out on the course and I always think I’m going to play well but I start off poorly and get frustrated. Somewhere around the 11th or 12th holes I usually say to myself, “screw it.” From then on I quit trying to make the perfect shot everytime and I just swing the club. Almost everytime I do this I play better and the last few holes are the best holes I play all day. I think after Game Four the Penguins told themselves “screw it.”
I expect Pittsburgh to play very loose and aggressive tonight. After all, why wouldn’t they? What do they have to lose at this point? Most of the national media and in fact most of their fans have resigned themselves to the fact that Detroit is going to win the series and most think it will happen tonight. Pittsburgh can take the fact that there is no longer any pressure or expectations on them and use it to their advantage and I think they will.
Also in the Penguins favor is the fact that Detroit has shown an inability to close out teams. In the Western Conference Finals the Red Wings had the Stars down three games to none but were unable to end the series until Game Six. They were clearly the better team but they simply were not able to close out the Stars even though Game Five was in Detroit following a loss. I think the same thing will happen here.
Not only do I think that Pittsburgh will win tonight but I am going to predict that Evgeni Malkin scores a goal. I think it will come on the power play and that he will smile bigger than former Michigan State star Mateen Cleaves:
Once the Penguins win Game Five they will head back home where, as the media will remind you every five minutes, they have only lost once since February and where Marc-Andre Fleury has only lost once since November. I’m willing to bet that they won’t lose back-to-back games on their home ice so I think they’ll win Game Six and force a winner take all Game Seven in Detroit.
If it does get to that, though, Pittsburgh will tighten up again as the pressure and expectations will be back on them and they will not be able to rise to the challenge. I think Detroit will win Game Seven and Pittsburgh’s players and fans will suffer a broken heart after their first ever loss in the Finals.
Again, I realize that the very fact I am putting this on the internet almost assures that it will not happen, but these thoughts have been on my mind for a couple of days now so I wanted to get them out there. Game Five is tonight…we’ll see if Pittsburgh plays “who gives a damn” hockey or not. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Malkin’s smile.
P.S. -Â It wasn’t until after I wrote this post that I saw this picture. Now I’m certain that the Penguins will win! How could God deny this woman? After all, she took the time to covert her prayer into towel form! Sorry, starving, abused and impoverished of the world…your prayers will have to wait while God tends to this woman’s plea for a hockey team to win a game! (Where’s the eye-rolling smiley face when you need it?)