It’s been nearly twenty years since a NHL team won back-to-back Stanley Cup championships. Can the Pittsburgh Penguins do it? They’ll face the Columbus Blue Jackets for Game 3 of the opening round on April 16, so tune in when the puck drops around 6:00 PM ET!
If there’s any team that could possibly break the back-to-back drought, it could the Pittsburgh Penguins squad fronted by Sidney Crosby, 29. However, before they can even think about raising the Stanley Cup for a second year in a row, they have to first get by the Columbus Blue Jackets. After two games at the PPG Paints Arena in scenic Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the Pens head west to meet Columbus at the Nationwide Arena in Ohio. It should be wild so don’t miss a second!
So, why hasn’t a team gone back-to-back since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings? “Part of the difficulty of winning back-to-back is it’s very taxing, it’s very draining,” Brendan Shanahan, the Toronto Maple Leafs president (who was on that Detroit championship team) told ESPN. “[It’s because of] the very short offseason, and you have a big target on your back as well. It’s harder to do because of the cap situation, but also it’s just hard to do in general. That’s why it didn’t happen a lot in history, except for some of the dynasty teams.”
“You honestly think at times [playing hockey] going to kill you. You think you’re done. You think you’re not the player you were. You’re asking yourself those questions,” said Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, 26, said. “Then when it comes back around, it’s like, ‘Geez, that was one of the hardest things I’ve been through, and it didn’t come close to killing me. It empowered me even more.'”
Yet, with Sidney leading the Pens, hockey fans may see a team win consecutive championships for the first time in nearly 20 years. Of course, he can’t win the cup on his own. One of the team’s surprise weapons is their longtime goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury. 32. After being relegated to the backup role, Marc-Andre stepped in Game 1 after an injury sidelined starter Matt Murray, 22. Fluery stopped a flurry of shots, making 31 saves to help the Pens draw first blood.
Who do you want to win the Stanley Cup, HollywoodLifers? Do you think the Penguins are going to repeat as champs, or will someone else claim the Stanley Cup?