THN.com Playoff Blog: Don't count out Penguins just yet

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The Hockey News

The Hockey News

I normally blog on Thursday, but I asked good man and good friend Adam Proteau if we could switch because I have to get something off my chest after listening to fan and media buzz as the NHL final moves to Steeltown…

Since mere milliseconds after the final buzzer of Game 2, words from high and low, east and west have had the Red Wings hoisting their 11th Stanley Cup in club history as an undeniable inevitability.

Well, folks, at the risk of being overly crass, I’m calling b.s.

I watched both games intently and I’m well aware the Penguins had their hats handed to them in both outings. But guess what? That’s exactly what was supposed to happen.

They call it home-ice advantage for a reason, so it’s zero surprise the Wings have taken a two-zilch lead.

And it’s also no shock the flightless birds looked out of their element through the first two tilts – they were out of their element.

This is a young squad and despite performing unbelievably through three rounds, the Stanley Cup final is a different beast with all sorts of new pressures few of the Pens have previously faced.

Will Evgeni Malkin wake up?

Can Marc-Andre Fleury steal a game?

Will the Pittsburgh crowd give their team a boost?

Can Michel Therrien out-coach or at least neutralize Mike Babcock?

Will last change make a difference?

Can Sidney Crosby steal a game?

Will the Pens develop an effective forecheck?

Can they win the special teams war?

The answer to all these questions is yes, but the Penguins really only need one to go their way to change the tune of this series and make it the classic so many of us were hoping for.

Game 3 will tell the true story of whether or not Pittsburgh is ready to seriously compete for an NHL championship or whether they do, in fact, need to learn how to lose before achieving the greatness this lineup is destined for.

In the end, I don’t think the Penguins will claim hockey’s holy grail this season, but I like the odds on the Black and Gold maintaining their flawless home record and this series heading back to Motown tied 2-2.

To write off a team of this quality - a team that’s still 12-4 overall in the playoffs - after two poor performances on hockey’s grandest stage is simply ludicrous.

THN.com's Playoff Blogs, featuring analysis and opinion with insight on what happened and what it all means going forward, will appear daily throughout the NHL playoffs. Read more entries HERE.

Edward Fraser is the editor of thehockeynews.com. His blog normally appears Thursdays.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

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