So, here we are. After many ups and downs, wins and losses, injuries and returns from injury, the Pittsburgh Penguins are set to play the win-or-go-home game 7 against the New York Rangers.
It only just occurred to me that it's May 13. May 13, as it goes, is a perfectly great date in Penguins history.
It was May 13 in 1992 when the Pens beat the Rangers 5-1 at Civic Arena in game 6 of the Patrick Division final. After Adam Graves slashed Mario Lemieux in game 2, sidelining him for the series, everyone thought the Pens were done for. Several guys stepped up big-time, guys like Tocchet, Jagr, McEachern, but no one was better in that series than Ron Francis, who tallied 7 goals and 12 points to carry the Pens in Mario's absence. He capped the scoring with an empty netter in game 6 to seal the deal. A few weeks later, the Pens were hoisting the Cup.
It was May 13 in 2009 when the Pens captured possibly the best playoff series in recent memory. It was a classic playoff matchup of two of the brightest stars in hockey universe and their high-scoring offenses. Sidney Crosby topped Alex Ovechkin, tallying 2 goals and 1 assist to lead the way to a 6-2 win in a historic game 7. Again, that was just a stepping stone on the road to another Cup.
It is May 13 today. Another game 7 is staring us in the face and there is so much on the line for the Pens that I don't even know where to start. Their season is on the line. Reputations are on the line. Jobs are on the line. The Rangers are a good team and they've given the Pens all they could handle, and then some. I don't know which way it'll go. All I know is that today is as good a day as any for this game 7 showdown.
The season might end today, or it might not. I hope the crowd brings the noise and the faith. I hope the guys give it their all. We'll probably swing by Sto's Bar in Olde City to watch with black-and-Vegas-gold faithful. It's a school night and all, but we don't care. Where will you be watching?
There's no thing I'd rather do.
There's no sport I'd rather watch.
There's no team I'd rather cheer.
Let's go Pens!