NHL Resurrection in America?

The Stanley Cup Finals deserve more than one post. So they’ll probably will end up getting at least two.

What a Stanley Cup Finals it has been so far. With Game 6 slated for 8 PM tonight in Pittsburgh, one can only hope it goes to a decisive Game 7. The ratings for the triple-overtime Game 5 were through the roof and can only help develop the game in the United States once again.

Crosby and company have their work cut out for them and they can’t expect to get outshot 2 to 1 and think they’ll pull out another victory tonight. Marc-Andre Fleury and his 55 saves really did save their season Monday night and I have a feeling he’s gonna be on top of his game yet again. The Penguins are a +2 goal differential in their 2 wins (you do the math, that means they won each game by a goal) but are an awful -8 in their 3 losses (0-4, 0-3, 1-2). They’ll need to generate a lot of offense and will need to be led by Evgeni Malkin who just had a tremendous regular season with 47 goals and 59 assists in 82 games and has a respectable but not great 9 goals and 20 points in the post season.

I knew their streak was long but I did not know that the Red Wings have finished 1st or 2nd in their division in points for a remarkable 16 consecutive seasons – reaching triple digit points in all but 4 of those seasons.

The Penguins on the other hand were basement dwellers for 4 consecutive seasons in their division with 69, 65, and 58 points twice before getting 102 and 105 the past two seasons. They have gone from worst to first in just 3 seasons and would have had it last year – losing out the division title to the Devils by a mere 2 points. Let’s not have too much pity for the Penguins who had made it to the playoffs (and won two Stanley Cups) in the previous 11 seasons before their miserable streak started in 2001-02.

I don’t know how many teams have done this but the Penguins when they won back to back Stanley Cups in 1990-91 and 1991-92, did it under two different coaches (Bob Johnson and Scotty Bowman) – Bowman who would later coach the Red Wings to 3 Stanley Cup Championships himself.

So what’s it gonna be? Are the Red Wings gonna close it out on the road or do the Penguins have it in them to completely turn this series around and put Detroit’s backs against the wall and force a Game 7?

Game 6. Tonight. 8 PM. NBC.

P.S. Wrote this post for my buddy Rusty who every now and then leaves me a reminder to ABG this or ABG that. Last night, it was “ABG the Stanley Cup Finals”.