Maxime Talbot provided all the offense needed for the Penguins to claim their 3rd Stanley Cup trophy and first since winning back-to-back in '91 and '92. Talbot scored two goals in the 2nd period that proved to be the only scores the Pens needed to eclipse the defending Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings 2-1.
Whether or not the Penguins would make the playoffs was in serious jeopardy earlier in the season when they fired head coach Michel Therrien after a 27-25-5 start to the year.
Dan Bylsma, of relative anonymity prior to taking over, filled in as interim head coach for the remainder of the season and earned himself an official "head coach" tag and multi-year extension after his squad disposed of the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It's safe to say that few saw this kind of a run coming but the Penguins played truly inspired hockey under Bylsma's direction.
With their 2-1 victory on Friday night in Detroit the Penguins became the first professional team since the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB) to win a championship Game 7 on the road. And oh how sweet it was to exact revenge on the very team that eliminated the Pens a year ago on their home ice.
Congratulations to the entire Pittsburgh Penguins organization, to Sidney Crosby (youngest captain - 21 - to hoist the Cup), Evgeni Malkin (first Russian-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy), Marc-Andre Fleury (goat of the first 3 games in Detroit where he surrendered 11 goals) and the entire city of Pittsburgh for not giving up on the franchise and letting it move to another city just a few short years ago.
One more thing - I want to add that this is a particularly sweet victory given the lack of faith bestowed from one Stars and Slights' long-time readers.
A friendly wager was placed on the series and now the one who ran his mouth (not me) has to pay the consequences. He of all people should have known better, too, as a lifelong Red Sox fan. Remember this? It's not over 'til it's over... don't ever forget that!
Stanley Cup and Super Bowl champions in the same year? Oh how sweet it is!