Friday, June 12, 2009

Kerrzy's Notebook: Pens take the Cup!

For just the third time in the NHL's history, the road team came out on top in game seven of the Stanley Cup Final. So Sid the Kid finally has his name on the Cup and the Pens get the revenge they hoped for after losing to the Wings on home ice last season.

Here's the recap:

(Penguins 2, Red Wings 1)

It wasn't Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin scoring the big goals for the Penguins in the biggest game of the season - it was Max Talbot.

The speedy grinder scored both of Pittsburgh's goals in the second period - one coming off a brutal giveaway by Detroit defenceman Brad Stuart, the other on a two-on-one midway through the middle frame.

When either of these teams is leading after two periods, especially by a pair of goals, they're virtually unbeatable.

Detroit really came at Pittsburgh late in the second and late in the third, but Marc-Andre Fleury stood tall between the pipes - and got some help from those pipes too. After Jonathan Ericsson beat him with a point shot about 14 minutes into the third, Nik Kronwall hit the crossbar. Fleury also came up big in the final seconds, with a big save on Wings captain Nick Lidstrom...

Has Fleury finally shaken the curse of the "big game bobbles" that has followed him around since the 2004 World Juniors?

Who doesn't remember seeing him shoot the puck off his defenceman's butt and into his own net? That one burned. In last year's SCF, there was that one goal where the puck sat on the ice behind him until he sat down and knocked it into his own net.

This year, he came out on top. Good for him.

No one else dominated the scoresheet in these playoffs like the often-overshadowed Evgeni Malkin, and he's another player who is finally getting his moment in the sun.

The 22-year-old is the first ever Russian and just the third European (behind Henrik Zetterberg and Nick Lidstrom) to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

Malkin put up 36 points in 24 games during this Cup run, which is the sixth-highest total ever behind only Wayne Gretzky and Mario Lemieux. Not many players have won the regular season and playoff scoring races in the same year, either. Pretty impressive.

And finally, at 21-years-old Sidney Crosby becomes the youngest player to captain a Stanley Cup winning team, and you know Gary Bettman couldn't be happier!

One more thing - earlier in this post I mentioned the Marc-Andre Fleury "big game bobble" curse. Ty Conklin has now been on the losing end of three Stanley Cup Finals and a conference final as a backup goalie.

Is there a Ty Conklin curse?

Congrats to the Hershey Bears as well, who won the AHL's Calder Cup with a 4-1 win over the Manitoba Moose on Friday night, also on the road. Looks like there'll be lots of parties in PA this weekend!

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