A discussion with somebody in the Penguins organization who has seen a lot more playoff hockey than me led me to this conclusion: We all forget far too fast.
The Penguins lost eight — 8 — games last postseason. They dropped a Game 5 at home in Round 1, and twice fell behind 2-0 to team that held home-ice advantage.
Amazingly, and perhaps shockingly, I can only presume to many fans given the oft-overreaction to every playoff loss, the Penguins still won the Stanley Cup.
Losing a Game 2 at home to the Montreal Canadiens hasn’t doomed the defending champs for this season. Of course, if anybody needs to feel better about the Penguins’ chances headed to Montreal, consider their 10-6 road record in the postseason under HC Dan Bylsma. Heck, this group of Penguins is 16-12 away from Mellon Arena in its playoff history. And yes, winning at Montreal’s wow-gosh-loud Bell Center is no easy chore, but can getting one win there — just one is all the Penguins need — be any more challenging than blowing out the Capitals at Washington in a Game 7 or twice winning elimination games at Detroit, where if the bouncy boards don’t doom a team the talented Red Wings usually do?
The answer, folks, is no.
Plus, woeful as Washington’s loss in Round 1 looks, nobody should forget that the Capitals won Games 3 and 4 at Montreal to take the 3-1 series lead they ultimately wasted away.
Game 2 was Montreal’s Game 7, because there was no way they were taking four of five from the Penguins had they gone down, 2-0.
The Penguins have not lost a game they HAD TO WIN since Game 6 of the 2008 Stanley Cup Final, at least not by my estimation — meaning I thought they could lose Game 2 at Washington and Detroit last season and still win those series, which they did to prove me right. So, by my count, the Penguins are 11-0 in must-win games since that Game 6 loss in 2008. These are the wins: Game 6 in Round 1 at Philly in 2009; Games 3,4 and 7 against the Capitals in 2009; Games 2,4, 6 and 7 against Detroit in 2009; and Games 3 and 6 at Ottawa last round.
So, some advice: relax. That adage that the Cup playoffs are a marathon not a sprint — thing is, it’s true.
A QUICK REMINDER
For the most part in the playoffs Trib columnist Kevin Gorman is handling the blogging duties. As you can see, video is killing the newspaper star: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid4332016001?bctid=82570329001
So, while I continue to stretch the limits of fashion, if not hair gel, be sure to keep looking for blog updates from the one we in Trib Land call Gormie the Owl: http://blog.triblive.com/sitting-ringside/2010/05/02/saving-face/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+triblive%2Fblog%2FSittingRingside+%28Sitting+Ringside+Blog%29
Off to hockey’s capital city. Thanks for checking in.