Last night, the Penguins took Game Two in Pittsburgh from the Flyers by a 4-2 score. They're up 2-0 in their best of seven series, as are the Red Wings out west (if Detroit is really all that far west).
On Monday and Tuesday both series will shift back to Dallas and Philly, respectively. Both are also critical dates for the home teams. Going down 3-0 -- especially against teams this good -- is basically a death sentence. It's a must win. It's whatever you want to call it. No matter what you choose to call it (po-tay-to and/or po-ta-to are both acceptable), they're big games.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the Wings and Pens are more than likely to take one road game, and then close out the series in either Game Five or Six. But the Stars and Flyers have been anything but conventional this year. The Flyers got to this point without winning a single game one. The Stars, for what it's worth, took the Sharks to overtime in four-of-six during the semifinal round. And, despite sounding like a broken record, you can always go back and look at the way they fell flat on their face in March, winning only two games all month. Logic and reason has no place here, as Chris Osgood and Mike Ribeiro showed us on Saturday night.
So here we go, folks. The next two nights can show us one of two things. They're either going to show us who will likely be in the finals, or they're going to signal that we may be in this for the long haul. Hopefully, for the sake of good hockey, it's the latter. And that's not a knock on the first four Conference Final games that we've seen. Except for Game One in the West, they've all been pretty close. But close isn't good enough and the Flyers and Stars are going to have to shape up or ship out.