I know Pens fans like to think that those 2 game 7's gave them that momentum, but we've seen teams win 2 straight game sevens get gassed out (Colorado in 2002) and were thumped as the series continued.
"I've definitely seen that one from him before", Crosby said. "At the same time, you can't think just because they haven't won it before that they're not going to be ready". On the other side, the defensive core of the Nashville Predators has been their stalwart force this playoff. Though they tied for the fewest points in the 16-team playoff field (94), the Predators are unsafe and very much for real after steamrolling through the Western Conference playoffs, never trailing at any point in series wins over Chicago, St. Louis and Anaheim.
Sheldon Souray is the biggest culprit in recent games when it comes to this malady. That's more than the Predators franchise, which in its young history has 86 postseason contests. Again, you have your stars in Pittsburgh with Malkin and Crosby while you are seeing new stars emerge in Justin Schultz and Jake Guentzel having huge playoff runs. But the Predators player isn't anxious about all of that. They had won just three playoff series in their first 17 seasons but matched that total this spring with an exciting blend of speed and skill. Without top defenseman Kris Letang, the Penguins have to rely on their blue-line depth to help their talented forwards. "I think it's important to just worry about the next game, have a short memory and the first to four wins". The Penguins have the experience, the leadership and the star power.
P.K. Subban and the Preds' D-men have put Nashville in position to win a title.
"Waiting does get old", forward Colin Wilson said. "There's a lot of emotions in the playoffs, there's a lot of ups and downs". One more awesome challenge for all-world teammates looking to push each other to yet another level on hockey's biggest stage.
At age 40, Cullen is by far the oldest player in the Final, but has seemed to get a late career boost in the Iron City.
In the last 10 games between these two teams, Pittsburgh holds an 8-2 advantage, per the OddsShark NHL Database. "The nature of the games are going to be very different".
"Yeah, I feel good", Fisher said Sunday. "Not that I want to say bad things about Carolina", Malkin said. The Penguins, conversely, are in the final series for the second straight season, looking to become the first National Hockey League team to repeat as champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998. And in my opinion, they have a chance to win maybe another one after that. Both Souray and Tom Gilbert got beat to the puck, then Joe Pavelski beat Souray around the net, then various San Jose players beat various Oilers in front of the net before the puck was banged in.
Ekholm was quick to add the third pairing of Matt Irwin and Yannick Weber could go up against the top lines, too.
What we need in these Finals is for Matt Murray to play like he did a year ago and for Marc-Andre Fleury to play like he has been in the first two rounds of these playoffs. Murray, who is still a rookie, is playing in his second Stanley Cup Final in as many years.
The playoffs started at 16 teams and have been whittled down to these two, the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins, and now it's time for the final showdown. Will he have enough gas left in the tank in the final against a team that fired more shots than anyone during the regular season?
I've had some trouble picking this year's bracket.
While his Preds will be battling the Pittsburgh Penguins for the right to hoist hockey's Holy Grail in a series that begins Monday evening at PPG Arena, the team's top centre can only sit and watch, mired in a minimum two-month rehab program after undergoing thigh surgery for an injury suffered in Game 4 of the Western Conference final against the Ducks.