Wow. That's the first word that came out of my mouth as Lidstrom's last second shot was stopped by Fleury. It was simply an amazing save. With the season and the Stanley Cup on the line, MAF was the story tonight. But there was also that Hossa guy. The man in the tinted visor, the man who chose the Wings over the Pens because he believed the Wings had a better shot at winning a CUP. Well guess what brother they didn't win. He wasn't himself this series. He didn't have that rythmn he usually does, he was tentative and clearly feeling some pressure. Although he did look better in this game than in the others, but that wasn't enough.
Sure one of the underlying stories of this series is and always will be Marian Hossa. But tonight there were other stories to go around. One of which was the play of Max Talbot. This guy was playing with so much energy and confidence it was unreal. We all saw him score big goals to help the Pens win games before. We saw him fight guys when the team was down. Now in the biggest game of his career, he had 2 goals including the game winner. The 2nd line overall was awesome. Feds looked like the guy who played for the Lightning in that shift in the last couple minutes of the 1st. He was flying, made a great pass to Max which he couldn't finish. Geno was awesome as well, especially on defense. He was always back in the zone helping out the D, just as Sid was while he was playing, and just as Staal was.
Winning this cup was a team effort. This was especially obvious in games 6 and 7. Satan came back into the lineup and blocks a shot in that 3rd period. Unlike Sykora, Miro didn't die thankfully. The defense and forwards did a tremendous job blocking shots in this game. They were always in the lanes, there sticks were always in the Wings way deflecting pucks out or causing bad shots. Sure Fleury played amazing, but for how dominant the Wings were in the last couple minutes of the 2nd and the whole 3rd period, they only registered 27 shots. Speaking of Fleury, he was outstanding. In the games he wins, he always has that one timely save that sets the tone for the rest of the game. Tonight there were several great saves in that 1st period, the biggest one being on the Maltby shot. Maltby lost the faceoff but still got possession and was right in front of Fleury and was stoned gloveside. That's when I knew that Fleury was on his A+ game. That last shot attempt by Lidstrom was another incredible save. Lidstrom had room to shoot it top shelf to the right. But this isn't the Lidstrom from 5-8 years ago, he's older and he looked really slow at times throughout tonight's contest.
Getting the 1st goal in this game was huge. And I thought after Max got the 1st one, we were in control. We had a great 2nd period, and Mr. Kunitz made a very nifty little play in our own zone to get the puck up to Max on a 2 on 1. Max ripped it gloveside on Ozzy and it was 2-0. Detroit D-men Brad Stuart who was great this series, made two mistakes that lead to 2 Pens goals. First he turned it over to Geno and then he pinched and it lead to a 2 on 1. What character, composure, and passion this Pens team showed after Sid went down 5 min. into the 2nd period. They didn't panic but they kept playing their game and eventually got that 2nd goal later in that frame. First of all why is Muhammed Ali a Wings fan? Apparently everyone loves jumping on bandwagons nowadays. Except it was the wrong wagon bud.
This will go down as one of the best series and greatest game 7s in NHL history. It was close, it was furious, and the Pens defied all the odds. No one picked them to win this game. All those donks on ESPN such as EJ Hradek, Barry Melrose, Matt Barnaby, etc. etc. picked the Wings to win. Well there's a reason Barnaby never won a Stanley Cup and Melrose never made it through the first month of the season before getting fired in Tampa. TSN > ESPN by far. It was a team effort. And looking back I truly believe the Staal goal in game 4 changed the series around. Even though we got killed in game 5, we knew that was not Pens hockey. The Pens came back tonight and did everything they needed to. The PK was huge especially in the 3rd period. Our composure was there and the all important 1st goal took place. All those Fleury haters can quietly sit down and shut up. This man played one of this best games of his career tonight, maybe THE best. In the end, it was the heart, the will and hunger that helped propel the Pens to its first Stanley Cup since the days of Jagr and Mario in 1992.
I wouldn't mind an asteroid coming down and destroying the Earth tomorrow. Bruce Willis is too old he can't save us, and Ben Affleck is too busy going to Red Sox games and banging Jennifer Garner. What started in mid February on Long Island ended in the worst city in the world, Detroit. Congrats Geno on winning the Conn Smythe, congrats Hossa for getting 2nd place 2 years in a row, and congrats to your Pittsburgh Penguins, 2009 Stanley Cup Champions!!!
"Today is the greatest day I've ever known."