So it was to be, the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs would go the distance! After the Pens win in Game 6 at the Mellon it was back to the Joe and, in front of 20,000+ fans Lord Stanleys Mug would be won!
You would expect the Wings to win on home ice and retain the cup, but as you all will know Playoff Hockey changes everything!
After a couple of early chances it was the Pens who came closest to scoring in the opening period. With Kennedy picking up a loose puck in the neutral zone, he skated in on Osgood only for the puck to hit the side of the net, this didn't deter Kennedy who rounded the net and slid the puck to Staal. Osgood once again came up big to keep the score at 0-0. Then at 8mins ish, the sweetest mid ice hit you will see, Talbot is breaking into the neutral zone with the puck and head down (big no no!) and Kronwall comes across and absolutely levels Talbot!
Into the second and Pittsburgh got the early break, unfortunately Brad Stewart will want that back. Rounding the net he attempts to clear the puck up the middle of the ice (another no no!) only for his pass to be intercepted by Talbot who slides it through the 5 hole! Both teams continued to trade chances through the second period, with both goalies standing tall. Then with 10 minutes on the clock Talbot and Kennedy advancing on Osgood, what followed was a shot of the highest accuracy and Talbot shot the Pens into a 2-0 lead. Game on!
As you would expect the Wings would come at the Pens at the beginning of the third, with the Wings laying siege to Fleurey's goal. The Wings would have to wait until 6mins left on the clock before they scored. The puck was down low and worked to the point, a quick pass across the blue line saw Ericsson unleash an absolute howitzer into Fleurey's net! Needless to say its nearly all Detroit at this stage, then with 2min 12 seconds on the board, Kronwall released a short wrister and, the crowd went silent.........Ding.......it hits the crossbar! A Ding so loud the whole of Detroit must have heard! The last chances fell to the Wings with 6 seconds to go and with an empty net, but the Pens stood firm and won the Stanley Cup!
Cue elation on one bench and utter misery on the other, this is what Playoff hockey is all about!
Conn Smythe Tropy went to: Evgeni Malkin
Then the moment every player dreams of, Sidney Crosby becomes the youngest captain to lift the Stanley Cup!
So that's it for hockey's 2008/09 season, roll on September when it all starts again!