By: Casey Johnston (@PensNationCasey)
The Penguins are in New York where they will attempt with close out their series with the Rangers in game six. For some, it is a surprise that the series has gone this far. If not for one bad period in game one, this series could have been a sweep by the Penguins. They have posted positive Fenwick numbers in games one, two, and four, they did not allow the Rangers a power play goal in the first four games, and they have posted back-to-back shutouts following their overtime loss in game one.
Given how the series has transpired, it was a bit surprising for some to see the Rangers win game five in such a dominating fashion. However, it should not come as a surprise as this is just an example of the adversity that all teams face on the road to the Stanley Cup Final. The Penguins are no strangers to this. In 2009 they dropped two games to the Flyers. The scores in those losses were 6-3 and 3-0. They would later suffer a 5-0 loss to the Red Wings before winning games six and seven of that series.
In 2010 the Blackhawks lost two games to the Nashville Predators by scores of 4-1. They lost two more to the Vancouver Canucks by scores of 5-1 and 4-1.
In 2011 the Bruins opened their Stanley Cup run by falling behind two games to none against the Montreal Canadiens. They had a 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the finals they lost their first two games to the Vancouver Canucks and were shut out twice.
In 2013 the Blackhawks, on the way to their second Cup in three years, had 4-1 and 2-0 losses to the Red Wings, and a 2-0 loss to the Bruins.
Adversity happens in hockey, and playoff hockey is no exception. There are plenty of obstacles on the way to 16 wins. Not only does a team have to win four series to claim the Stanley Cup, but those teams have to be built to win four different kinds of series. Some series may appear easier than others, but none are truly easy. So, do not see a 5-1 loss to the Rangers as a sign that the Penguins are finished. See it as just another bump in the road that every single team who has ever won a Stanley Cup experiences.