The Pittsburgh Penguins will either want to get to work on their Stanley Cup quest as soon as possible, or they may soon have enough time for a lengthy vacation before they get down to the task of bringing Lord Stanley's cup to the city of Three Rivers.
Regardless, they won't have to keep the Carolina Hurricanes entertained/terrified any longer.
The Pens made quick work of their Eastern final competition, sweeping the Canes in four straight with game four another clinic put on by the suddenly surging Penguins. They showcased the maturity and confidence that they have achieved this year early in game four, refusing to be rattled by the Carolina surge in the first few minutes of the game.
Instead, they calmly kept to their plan, shutting down the attack and turning the flow of the game back in the direction they wished, eventually taking away the Carolina lead for good and completing the sweep of the series.
Portraying more of that imagery that has many thinking back to the early days of the Oilers dynasty, the Pens were once again dominating in their play, indicated throughout this series by their ability to outscore the Canes by a margin of 20-9.
Marc Andre Fleury out dueled Cam Ward in this Eastern final, shutting down the Carolina attack on those rare occasions that they managed to find a way around the Penguins game plan. In the final game of this series, he faced down the Hurricanes in the final fifty eight minutes holding them to their solitary goal of the game.
The Penguins trailed in only twenty minutes and thirty seconds of 240 minutes of play over the course of the four games. An indication as to the focus and determination that they have brought to this their second run for Stanley in two years.
Sidney Crosby shrugged off the traditional superstition over the Prince of Wales trophy, carrying the Eastern division trophy off to the dressing room at the conclusion of the game. Most teams over the course of the NHL's history have chosen not to touch the trophy, preferring to wait for the grand prize to come in the final round.
However, the Pens seem to be skating to their own agenda this season, more confident than last year, more seasoned and certainly ready for another shot at taking that larger more honoured bit of silver ware home with them.
They will perhaps find out when they skate next and against which team, after the conclusion of the Detroit - Chicago game on Wednesday, a Detroit win would set the table for a rematch between last years Stanley Cup finalists.
And with it, the comparisons to those early Oiler days will again become prominent. It was after a heartbreaking loss in 83 to the Islanders, that Edmonton then began it's reign as defending champions in 1984.
History tends to work in cycles in sports, perhaps with Tuesday nights win, the 2009 Pens have positioned themselves in place for their chance to begin their lodging in the history books.
National Post-- Penguins headed back to Stanley Cup final
Globe and Mail-- Penguins march back to the final
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- Penguins put final touch on 4-game sweep
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette-- Penguins sweep back to Stanley Cup final
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Penguins earn another shot at Lord Stanley
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- All or nothing for Penguins
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Hurricanes have parting words for Pens
Pittsburgh Tribune Review-- Controversial Cherry praises Pens' Crosby
Raleigh News and Observer-- End of the journey
Raleigh News and Observer-- Ward's playoff run finally ends