What you had last night was two freaky fast, athletic teams playing a back-and-forth game, and ultimately it went to the team with the guy who’s won 2 MVPs. Not Warriors v. Thunder for a shot at LeBron. Sharks v. Penguins for Lord Stanley.
It’s jacked up that Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals had to go head-to-head with the NBA’s Game 7. Especially since the two teams on the ice weren’t repping New York, Chicago, LA, or any city in Canada.
It’s a tough ask to pull a fringe hockey fan away from the Splash Bros. But in a way, the Pittsburgh and San Jose put out the same product.
Through one game, this series is already so fast, so explosive, there’s so much speed and talent out there- it feels just like the conference finals- blink and you’ll miss something.
Ask the Sharks defensemen. Sid Crosby has never looked more like Wayne Gretzky. He didn’t score a goal last night, and I still think it’s one of the most dominant playoff games Crosby has ever played.
Good players can affect a game without scoring. Great players can take over a game. The Sharks looked back on their heels against Crosby all night, like they didn’t quite get how fast he was until it was too late and it felt like they were down 2-before the first commercial break.
The only dude who was just as nails as Sid the Kid, was the goalie who actually LOOKS like a kid. 22-year old Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray. It’s the Stanley Cup Finals, and the guy between the pipes looks he’s not even shaving. But then you see him play and he looks like he’s got 10 years in the league.
So much for any concern that the bright lights the Finals may wig out Matt Murray and sent him back to Junior High hockey. He may not be old enough to rent a car, but Pittsburgh can ride him in this series. And they’ll have to. Because I don’t’ think for a second that San Jose will go quietly. They are loaded. They are extremely motivated. They didn’t play great last night, and they still almost won on the Penguins’ ice.
As crazy as Pittsburgh is offensively, San Jose might even be more talented. That’s why I love this series. Because I see a lot of one goal games, a lot of OT. It could be Pittsburgh in 4 or San Jose in 5 just as easily.
Normally I’d say if you just lost Game 1 and Crosby didn’t even score yet – you’re in way over your heads. But this Sharks team battles. They were right there last night. They’ll be there again.
Before Steph-v.Bron 2 do yourself a favor and watch Pens-v. Sharks Game.