Written by The Burgh Blog writer: Austin Tocco
Your Pittsburgh Penguins are on the brink of become champions of the National Hockey League, who would’ve thought it? They went from falling below .500 and almost dead last in the Metropolitan Division, to this. One win stands between the Penguins and the Stanley Cup which could be won as early as Thursday night in Pittsburgh. If the Penguins win the Cup this year, it will be their fourth title in franchise history, and if they win on home ice, it will be their first every championship in Pittsburgh. In 1991, the Penguins defeated the Minnesota North Stars at the Met Center in Bloomington, Minnesota. In 1992, the Penguins defeated the Chicago Blackhawks at Chicago Stadium in Chicago, Illinois. In 2009, your Penguins beat the Detroit Red Wings at the Joe in Detroit, Michigan. Now, they have a chance to do what has not been done in Pittsburgh since the 1960s, win on home soil. The entire city is behind the Penguins, the crowds contain regular fans and even people like Antonio Brown (Steelers receiver) and Gerrit Cole (Pirates pitcher). We will all be ready for Thursday night’s matchup in the City of Champions and will be ready to celebrate yet again.
The Penguins split the 2 games with the Sharks at SAP Center, which in my opinion, is all they needed. Pittsburgh is now up 3-1 and will look to close out the series Thursday. A couple of things need to happen before Crosby raises the cup for the second time in his career:
1. Stay composed
Consol Energy Center will be absolute bedlam come Thursday. Crowds of 18,000+ will enter the arena in hopes of winning a championship, add another 1,000 to that outside of the arena in front of the big screen. The players need to stay relaxed and not get too excited, especially the younger players who have not been there before, like Murray, Kuhnhackl, Sheary, and Rust. All of these guys have not been in this situation before and play a huge part to the team’s success. The crowd is going to be on your side, utilize that energy by attacking in the offensive zone and providing a stellar shift which will in turn generate another crazy uproar from the Penguins faithful. I could not imagine knowing that you are one win away from greatness, considering some of these guys were in Wilkes-Barre Scranton just a few months ago. If they stay composed, one would expect the Penguins to win the Stanley Cup this year.
2. Play your game
One of my favorite parts of the movie, “Miracle” is when Herb Brooks looks up at the scoreboard and sees that there is only 3 minutes left in regulation with is Americans up by 1. He looks up and down the bench and says, “Play your game” repeatedly. Needless to say that worked to perfection. If the Penguins dictate the way the game is played Thursday night, you could expect the Stanley Cup to be brought out of its case. Precision passing, adequate amounts of shots, net front presence in front of Martin Jones, and quick breakouts will lead the Penguins to success. With Mike Sullivan’s style of play, the Penguins have a great chance to achieve this goal, and he will be sure to enforce that the entire game.
3. Do it for Duper
Pascal Dupuis has been there through it all. Coming to Pittsburgh in 2008 with Marian Hossa, who would’ve expected the Penguins to keep Dupuis and not the offensive juggernaut, Marian Hossa. Boy, has it ever paid off. Pascal has been the voice of the locker room since his arrival and Pittsburgh cherishes this guy more than anyone. His attitude he brings to the ice whether he is playing or acting as a coach, Dupuis has been there. After being diagnosed with blood clots in his body, his ability to play was compromised. Pascal still shows up before and after every game that his boys play in. You can best believe that when the Cup is lifted, Dupuis will be front and center with his guys celebrating. There is no better guy in the NHL than Pascal Dupuis, win this game 5 for Pascal.
The city of Pittsburgh will be absolutely insane come tomorrow, if you have a chance, get down there and support your Pittsburgh Penguins as they have a chance to make history.
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