It is, as one veteran of the press corps said, simply astounding.
“We were very prepared for this team,” left wing Brad Marchand, who finished the series with a team-high 10 penalty minutes, said. “I think everyone counted us out, so we wanted to make sure that everyone came in every night and was focused and did the job. We did get some lucky breaks, some lucky bounces, and other guys stepped up at the right time. It was a great team effort.
“There’s definitely times we can be better. We haven’t really put a full 60-minute effort on the ice ... but we’ve been pretty good.”
During the latter stages of Boston’s 3-0 road victory in Game 1, a good friend of mine with legit hockey credentials (played at Austin Prep, follows the sport religiously, etc.) said while he naturally wanted the Bruins to win the series, he felt that “Pittsburgh (was) the better team, obviously.”
I had to correct him. While it doesn’t take an MIT professor to figure out that the Penguins possessed more stars in their galaxy, the better ‘team’ resided on Causeway Street with a spoked-B on their sweaters, and that team dynamic of staunch defense, opportunistic offense and doing whatever it took for the betterment of the group would ultimately win out.
This team — perhaps this team of destiny — is back to where they hoped they’d be when this shortened season began in January, four wins away from fulfilling their dreams for the second time in three seasons.
Phil Stacey is the sports editor of The Salem News. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 978-338-2650, and follow him on Twitter @PhilStacey_SN.