When the Puck drops in Detroit tonight, it will be the 15th time in the history of the NHL that the Stanley Cup will be played in a 'winner takes all' matchup.
This series has had everything a hockey fan could ask for, and it truly disserves to go down to a game 7. The way the bounces went in game 1 and 2 for Detroit, everyone must have thought 'here we go again'. But the Penguins showed that they are a different team from last year, and fought back down 2-0 to tie the series, and 3-2 to force this final game tonight.
Tonight, Detroit will be going for its 12th cup victory, where the penguins are looking to win there first since 1992. Hossa will be sitting in the dressing room praying tonight that he made the right decision, Crosby hoping he won't be making a second commercial re-living losing the cup.
Down to the facts of the series, Home ice has been favorable in every game, and the home team has yet to lose. Detroit is 11-1 at home, and the one loss game at the hands of the Ducks in Triple OT. Pittsburgh is 6-6 on the road, and 0-3 so far at the hands of the Wings. With that said, obviously the favorite going into this game is the Red Wings, based on the veteran leadership, experience, and home ice advantage.
But there is something telling me that the Penguins STILL can not be ruled out in this game. This is the same team that was 5 points out of a playoff spot during the middle of the regular season, and fought back to claim the 4th spot. This is the same team that without Gonchar had little to no character. But this is also the same team that beat Detroit at the Joe back in November in a come back OT win.
No team has won a game 7 on the road since Montreal beat Chicago. Only TWICE has a team won on the road in game 7. These numbers would put a lot of pressure on a team like the Penguins, but with everything they had to go through to get back to where they are today, I am not ruling out the penguins.
The key to the Penguins success tonight is to stay out of Penalty trouble. If they give Detroit too many chances on the Power Play they will have no chance. With that said, I think this game is going to be phenomenal, I think we are in for very close game 7, in which the winning team is probably going to win 2-1 or 4-3. I know stats are hard to bet against, but seeing how I have lived through a sports era where the Red Sox's came back 3-0 to win there series, I believe the Penguins will break the Road Curse, and win game 7 and the Stanley Cup!