Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Game 5

Triple Overtime Win: That's Good, Right?

The temptation to say Pittsburgh has the momentum in the Stanley Cup final is quite strong right now. The Penguins beat Detroit 4-3 in triple overtime earlier this morning, and now the series moves back to Pittsburgh for Game 6.

But it's a temptation to claim momentum for Pittsburgh for a reason: The Pens have yet to play better than the Red Wings in either of their two wins this series. Pittsburgh has played well enough to win, which is different than dominating Detroit. And their Game 5 win needs to be put in perspective: The Penguins blew a 2-0 lead and tied the game with less than 35 seconds left. They then won the game on a powerplay in overtime. That's not a convincing win. That's a lot of luck.

I can't see Pittsburgh winning this series without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin playing better. What the Pens have going for them for Game 6 is the home crowd and the fact that Detroit, 35 seconds away from the Stanley Cup, could not clinch the series. What the Red Wings have going for them is the fact they have outplayed or kept up with their opponents even in losing. Momentum is fiction in sports. The only thing that matters is the score on the board at the moment.


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