PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The roar of the crowd signaled the end for the Tampa Bay Lightning.
It was an unforgettable night for the Pittsburgh Penguins and their fans on Thursday, and the atmosphere at CONSOL Energy Center was electric.
The Pens are now back in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2009, and the Game 7 that sent them there has been the biggest in the young arena’s history, as well as the loudest.
The roaring crowds, the chanting, the screaming, the twirling rally towels, it wasn’t always like that.
When CONSOL Energy Center first opened nearly six years ago, there was endless optimism about the Penguins’ future, but what followed were playoff disappointments, including two Game 7 losses on home ice.
There were rumblings about the passion of Pens’ fans. Was the new arena the same as The Igloo?
But now, all that seems so long ago.
The Pens have provided one memorable playoff moment after another, all in front of their hometown fans.
In return, those fans have given their best, especially in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
Head coach Mike Sullivan has seen and heard a lot over his decade playing in the NHL, and even more during his time behind the bench. But he says it’s all nothing compared to that 2-1 Game 7 victory.
“I thought it was incredible,” Sullivan said. “It’s the loudest that I’ve heard a building in all my years I’ve been associated with this league… to the point where we had to scream to the players on who was up next.”
Sullivan says his players appreciate every decibel of support they get from their fans.
“They’re passionate about their team. They want to see them succeed, and I thought tonight it was on display. It was the most electric building I’ve seen,” Sullivan said.
There is still a chance to top Game 7. The Pens still need four more wins to bring home their fourth Stanley Cup championship, and it all starts at CONSOL Energy Center on Monday night.