Brooks Orpik, always blunt as a butt-end, was the one who had best summed up the scope of the Penguins' challenge earlier this week in Philadelphia: He called their play through three losses "terrible." Even joked that "maybe we're idiots or something" for thinking they might survive this Stanley Cup playoff series. He nailed both shots. The Penguins were terrible. And yeah, they probably were idiots for daring to expect they could match one of the rarest feats in the annals of professional sports. But maybe they needed to be terrible first to grow stronger. And maybe they needed to be idiots to get past cold reality. Because here they are. They're two victories away from history after that 3-2 went-to-a-hockey-game-and-a-hockey-game-broke out flushing of the Flyers in Game 5 Wednesday night at Consol Energy Center. They're two victories away from matching the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders, the 2004 Red Sox — the original Idiots — and the 2010 Flyers in transforming a 3-0 deficit into a truly special seven-game triumph. Do you believe yet? If you don't, the guy wearing No. 11 might want a word. No one on the Penguins' roster, not even during the terrible/idiotic phase, has been better in these playoffs than Jordan Staal. Maybe no one around the NHL. His sweet goal in the second period not only brought a 2-2 tie but also was his sixth of the postseason, No. 1 in the league. That's also what Staal was for his team, a No. 1 amid a sea of No. 1s. It wasn't Crosby, who was banged around a bit and off his game. It sure wasn't Evgeni Malkin, who hurt his team with stupid, selfish penalties. Marc-Andre Fleury was magnificent in stepping up for the first time in this series and richly deserved his No. 1 star, but I'll still value Staal's contribution above all.
Only Staal has been there all along
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Apr 21