GAME SEVEN. Which hockey fans can now look forward to on Friday night. Actually, every sports fan should be excited for this one.
Why? It’s one game of playoff hockey, already intense enough. But now, it’s for all the marbles like the Super Bowl and the various cup finals in soccer. So you can dial things up 10 notches. Or more.
Detroit has won all three of their home games, are loaded with superstars both young and old who have been here before. The likes of Malkin and Crosby obviously haven’t been to the truly ultimate stage of hockey before, but experience has rarely stopped them over the past couple of playoff runs. They beat Washington on the road in Game 7 back in this year’s second round, so despite a 5-0 loss in Game 5, I doubt they’ll be intimidated on Friday. But the Red Wings do have intangibles on their side, including that it’s been a while since any road team has won a Stanley Cup Final seventh game- Montreal in 1971. Oh, and if it goes to OT, the Wings are the only team to ever win it at that point. And they have dominated for much of their three home games so far in this series, in part because having the last line change before face-offs allows them favorable defensive matchups against Pittsburgh’s forwards. Also, Chris Osgood has made some great saves, while on the offensive side, the Red Wings have used the Joe’s “lively boards” to create some unexpected goals.
Miss this showdown in Motown at your peril. Period.