The passage of time can be a funny thing. 2010 can somehow seem like yesterday and a lifetime ago all at the same time. Let’s harken back to April 22nd, 2010. It was in the midst of the final hurrah for the
Mellon, Civic, err, the Igloo. The Pens were defending Cup champions. And they were playing the Ottawa Senators in the first round of the playoffs.
This isn’t a post hinting or assuming history will repeat, because that would be a useless venture. Ottawa only has six of the same players from then (Daniel Alfredsson, Erik Karlsson, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips, Zach Smith and Jason Spezza). Nine Penguins who played remain (Craig Adams, Matt Cooke, Sidney Crosby, Pascal Dupuis, Mark Eaton, Chris Kunitz, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin and Brooks Orpik). Both teams have different goalies. Sergei Gonchar has changed sides. It’s worlds apart from what was then to what was now, and that’s not the point.
One thing that never changes is how you feel and the emotional swings of a playoff series. if you’re feeling bad about the Pens double OT loss, let’s harken back to that 2010 series, when it was arguably even more of a roller coaster than we’ve seen to this point.
Back in 2010’s Game 5, with the Pens up 3 games to 1, they lost a third period lead. And then they lost the game in triple over-time. With tough-guy Matt Carkner (currently of New York Islanders) scoring the game winning goal. All of this was at home too, and the Pens had to go to Ottawa for a game 6, drained of energy and the momentum in the Sens corner to feed off of that elimination saving win from the most unlikely of sources.
It can’t get much tougher than that.
Unless by the middle of the second period of Game 6 the score is 3-0 Senators, as it was that night. The Pens would battle back, badly out-shooting Ottawa that night (43-31 overall) and clawed back in time to tie the game in the 3rd period. Pascal Dupuis won it half-way through the first overtime to end the series. The last series Pittsburgh would win until defeating Carkner and NYI a few days ago. Funny how hockey has a way to be circular like that.
The moral of this trip down memory lane? Nothing comes easily this time of year. Everything is an adventure.
Try to enjoy the ride. Nothing is ever as linear or as smooth as it seems, and even the series that your team ends up winning, often times has so many twists and turns within a game (let alone the whole series) that it's important for me to remind myself it's about the journey just as much as it is the destination.