The next one will decide this Eastern Conference final.
If the Penguins win Game 3 at Boston on Wednesday, they will play for the Stanley Cup.
Mark that down. Count it.
It is not a prediction based off anything that was witnessed in Games 1 and 2, and the combined score of Bruins 9, Penguins 1.
A year ago, 14 months actually, the Penguins were in this spot.
Two home games lost, facing a Game 3 on the road in a building they play well.
All season, these players who were with the Penguins then said they have learned.
If they have, they win and get back into the series.
Lose, and, well…
What becomes of coach Dan Bylsma, whose clubs would have gone 3-4 in series – all against lower-seeded opponents – since winning the Cup in 2009?
What becomes of defenseman Kris Letang, who will have one season left on a contract that pays him $3.5 million annually?
What becomes of wingers Jarome Iginla and Brenden Morrow and defenseman Douglas Murray – the key three in-season acquisitions, and all unrestricted free agents?
What becomes of Pascal Dupuis, tied for the team lead with seven playoff goals and an impending free agent?
What becomes of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has won just one playoff series since that last-second save on Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom that clinched the Cup four years ago?
These are questions that general manager Ray Shero will ask.
He does not need to ask them yet.
If the Penguins win their next game, the guess is he won’t have to ask them at all.
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Rob Rossi covers the Penguins and NHL for Trib Total Media and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He is ClearChannel’s Penguins Insider. Follow him on Twitter: @RobRossi_Trib.