Penguins Fans Need to Live in the Moment

By: Jim Meinecke

The Pittsburgh Penguins were on the edge of advancing to their second Stanley Cup Final in as many years. Evgeni Malkin opened the scoring in the second period of last night’s game. The team looked like the Pittsburgh Penguins for the third game in a row. Matt Murray was playing well. The defense was limiting Ottawa’s shots and scoring chances. Everything was lining up for the Penguins, but Craig Anderson had other thoughts. There’s just no other to way say it…Anderson stole this game for the Senators to force a game 7 tomorrow night in Pittsburgh.

Here is the part that gets tricky as a fan. You always want your team to win, especially when it means your team can advance in the playoffs. When that doesn’t happen, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s part of being a fan, but I would encourage everyone to step back and really look at these games in the big picture. That is very hard to do, and much of that is because fans are reliving the past.

When the Penguins fell down to the Tampa Bay Lightning last year 3-2, many fans thought the series was over. “I’ve seen this play out before. Another blown series by a star laden team.” Of course that wasn’t the case.

The Penguins then blew a 3-1 series lead to the Washington Capitals this year and had to play a game 7 on the road. “I’ve seen this play out before. You remember when the Penguins blew those 3-1 series leads to the Lightning and the Rangers? This series is over.” Of course that wasn’t the case.

Now we’ve reached another crossroads and another scenario that’s clearly still fresh for fans. With an opportunity to close out the Senators, the Penguins completely outplayed their opponent but ran into a hot goaltender to lose a close game. “I’ve seen this play out before. You remember when the Penguins couldn’t score against Henrik Lundqvist or Tuukka Rask and lost those series? This series is over.” We’ll see how this one plays out tomorrow night.

No matter what, I would implore all of you to live in the moment. While some of the players remain the same, this team and this coaching staff are not the Penguins from 2013 that couldn’t score on Tuukka Rask or Henrik Lundqvist in 2015. It’s not the same team or coaching staff that blew a 3-1 lead to Tampa Bay in 2011 or New York in 2014. It’s not the same team or coaching staff that couldn’t find a way to close out the Canadiens in game 7 in 2010. In fact, this team and this coaching staff have answered every single bell and challenge that’s been thrown their way.

Not being able to come back from a 3rd period deficit? Reversed. Not being able to solve Henrik Lundqvist? Reversed. Not being able to win against the Metropolitan division? Reversed. Not being able to overcome a multiple goal deficit? Reversed. Going down 3-2 in a series last postseason? Came back to win the next two games and the series. Having to win a game 7 on the road against the league’s best team after getting crushed in game 6? Sure, no problem. Going up against a team that likes to trap in the neutral zone and falling behind 2-1 in the series? It’s fine. They just went out and won the next two in pretty dominant fashion.

The list goes on and on. No matter who is out of the lineup or how poorly they may have played in the prior game, this team and this coaching staff have continually answered the bell the past two seasons. So, here’s a thought for everyone: until this group gives you a reason to doubt them, don’t. Anything can happen tomorrow night, but my money is on the Penguins. Stop reliving all of those old wounds and enjoy what this group has constantly been delivering – wins.

Thanks for reading!