Everything that has come before this does not matter. That is the reality about Game 7 between the Penguins and New York Rangers.
So, forget about all of the following:
Sidney Crosby’s goal-scoring slump;
Soft goals that went against and shutouts posted by Marc-Andre Fleury;
Derick Brassard’s four goals;
Martin St. Louis’ mother’s passing.
Game 7 is its own entity, one that exits outside the realm of everything else everybody has done or seen or thought about in a best-of-seven series.
It is defining and often confounding.
Four years ago, the idea of the Penguins’ Cup defense ending with an emotional meltdown at home against Montreal in Game 7 seemed ludicrous based upon precedent. A year before, the notion the Penguins could win a Game 7 on the road at Detroit was equally ludicrous based upon precedent.
Game 7 is often ludicrous, and usually what ends up being the lasting memory is not something anybody could have predicted based off what somebody had seen previously.
PENGUINS 4, RANGERS 2
>> I have interviewed Evgeni Malkin more than any reporter in North America. I am writing his authorized biography. He is not an easy player to quote, but over the last eight years I have come to get a really good feel when he is actually saying something profound, and when he is ending a sentence.
This is what Malkin said during his Thursday availability:
“You know (the) story. After the Olympics, Sid (came) to me and we (started) talking about my game, about life. We’re good friends. I’m excited to play with Sid on one line. It’s one team. He’s (the) best player in the world, and I (have) learned a lot. We know we can win and we (will) do it.”
Mark Messier’s guarantee Malkin’s words were not on Thursday.
The actual news from his media availability was Malkin letting slip the Penguins were staying at a hotel the night before a home Game 7.
>> Win and advance to a fourth conference final in seven years. Lose and drop a fifth series to a lower-seeded team since 2010. Oh, Penguins: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6098236-74/penguins-game-crosby#axzz31bxkPyyQ
>> Josh Yohe’s ‘Insider’ finds Rob Scuderi sharing the secrets of winning Game 7: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6097922-74/penguins-scuderi-game#axzz31bxkPyyQ
>> Columnist Dejan Kovacevic does not see a win changing anything: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6098449-74/won-game-penguins#axzz31bxkPyyQ
>> Legacies get made in Game 7s, so are Lee Stempniak and Marcel Goc the next new heroes? Chris Adamski reports: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6098441-74/goc-penguins-stempniak#axzz31bxkPyyQ
>> Jason Mackey saw cool – and comfort – from the franchise centers a day before Game 7: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6098438-74/crosby-malkin-game
>> Contributor Denis Gorman explores the comfort these Rangers have in Game 7s: http://triblive.com/sports/penguins/6098237-74/game-rangers-penguins#axzz31bxkPyyQ
>> And, finally, Melanie Waas made pretty this page of information from Yohe and me:
Be EXCELLENT to each other,