The Penguins have been here before. Just like last season, Pittsburgh trails its Stanley Cup Final series to the Detroit Red Wings, 3-2, and face elimination in Game 6 at Mellon Arena Tuesday night.
The Red Wings have pushed the Penguins to the brink of extinction. Pittsburgh hasn’t quit all season long and they won’t now with their championship hopes on the line. The Penguins will need to respond to the challenge. It’s do or die.
“The situation is pretty clear for us,” captain Sidney Crosby
said. “We’ve got to go home and be desperate now, and we’ve been here before so it’s nothing new. We’ve got to respond the right way.”
The Penguins dropped a 5-0 decision to the Red Wings in Game 5 in Detroit Saturday night. But the team isn’t concerned with the final score and is focused on looking ahead.
“You forget about it, that’s what you try to do,” forward Maxime Talbot said. “The guys played really well. And a loss is a loss. We just have to regroup and go back on Tuesday. They played good and we’ve got to give them credit. But it’s going to be a different game Tuesday.”
“Whether it’s 5-0 or 5-4 in overtime, it’s only one game,” defenseman Mark Eaton said. “Our backs are against the wall now. It’s do or die for us. We expect our best effort on Tuesday.”
After the remarkable season that Pittsburgh has had, no one should be counting them out yet. Pittsburgh has overcome so many obstacles in this season – injuries to key players, a mid-season slump, a late-season coaching change – to advance to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins have been a resilient club all season and the 5-0 loss will really test their mental toughness.
“We’ve been through a lot of things,” Crosby said. “In the playoffs we’ve been through a lot that we’ve had to bounce back from. The reality is we’ve got to go home and win one. We’ve got to hopefully get a result from that.”
“Obviously, we lost 5-0, so I can't be too happy," goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury
said. "But I'm looking forward to Game 6. It'll be good to get back home."
Home has been a welcoming place for the Penguins this postseason. The team has an 8-2 record at Mellon Arena and will have a boisterous crowd cheering for them. The fans have energized the Penguins throughout the playoffs and head coach Dan Bylsma expects them to do the same Tuesday, in what will be the Penguins’ final game home game of the season. .
“That’s what a home crowd does for you,” Bylsma said. “You’re comfortable here. You feed off the energy of the building and we’re certainly going to have that in Game 6. We have two days here to regroup and refocus, and we will. They’re one ahead of us, and we’ve got to go home and use the energy of the home crowd to our advantage, and use Game 6 to draw even again.”