Picking a winner

With all due respect to sharpshooting Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin and out-of-his-mind rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov, these Penguins will not allow the red to be rocked.

They are 12 months removed from a last-minute goal by forward Max Talbot that staved off elimination in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup final at Detroit — a series against a superior opponent that the Penguins nearly extended to a seventh game despite shutout losses in Games 1 and 2. The next four games were one-goal affairs.

These Penguins are only a few weeks removed from failing to score a goal in a clinching game at home only to come back from a 3-0 deficit at Philadelphia in the next game to wrap a first-round series. That was their second victorious rally after trailing a playoff game 3-0 in the past two seasons.

Remember, this teams nucleus overcame a five-point playoff deficit with 25 games remaining to jump from 10th to fourth in the Eastern Conference. These players, led by captain Sidney Crosby, do not acknowledge any situation as too tough.

Playing more than half their regular-season slate without top defenseman Sergei Gonchar and a month without goalie Marc-Andre Fleury and going through a coaching change in mid-February did not rattle them — nor did replacing six forwards from the 2008 Cup final roster, opening the season with a 10-day trip to Europe and going 15-21-2 in a two-month stretch.

A deciding game on the road, even against an equally skilled and gutsy opponent, will not do them in.

These Penguins have survived worse, which is the reason they will see another series.

— Rob Rossi, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus