Stanley Cup Final: Breakouts, Predators closing speed & who’s under the microscope


Stanley Cup Final: Lucky or not Pens are 3 wins away In the Stanley Cup Final, it doesn’t matter how you get to four wins. The Penguins are three wins away from winning the Stanley Cup Final and the Predators are four wins away entering Wednesday’s Game 2. Pittsburgh might be the luckiest team in the NHL but they don’t put an asterisk next to the Stanley Cup if you’re deemed lucky. “They won the game. I’d rather be up 1-0,”Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. “Just cuts down our opportunity to win four games.” To beat the Pittsburgh Penguins you can’t beat yourself and you have to be able to weather any storm for a particular short stretch they’re bound to take over a game. As great as Nashville was in Game 1, the combination of both above gave Pittsburgh an instance where they won a Stanley Cup Final gameRead More »

Jake Guentzel happened and the Penguins take Game 1


 Penguins 5 – Predators 3 (PIT leads series 1-0) The Nashville Predators had the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ropes for much of the game and climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 in the third period and were in complete control. A Colton Sissons power play goal at 10:21 of the third cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 and Frederick Gaudreau tied the game, 3:08 later after a blunder behind the net in two Penguins losing a winnable puck battle from Austin Watson. Now a 3-3 game, the Penguins had gone the entire second period and third period to that point without a shot and it looked like we were all witnessing an implosion from the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Then Jake Guentzel happened, scoring a blistering shot off the rush from the right circle at 16:43 of the third period and it was 4-3Read More »

Stanley Cup Final: Breaking down why the Penguins should be labled as a slight favorite


Stanley Cup Final: Predators vs Penguins What many hockey types around the game see being the precursor of who wins the Stanley Cup will come down to whether the Predators defense can be special enough to off-set the major advantage the Penguins have down the middle. The Predators blueline has all of the talent and ability of being the difference that sways the series in their direction but no Ryan Johansen looms so large for Nashville. “This will be a tight, contested series, but I don’t see how they [Nashville] make up for the loss of Johansen,” an NHL assistant coach said believing Pittsburgh will prevail. “That’s a thoroughbred you can’t just replace with plug guys against that team [Pittsburgh].” Predators Projected Lineup Forwards Filip Forsberg – Colton Sissons – Pontus Aberg Viktor Arvidsson – Mike Fisher – James Neal Colin Wilson – Calle Jamkrok – Craig Smith Frederick GaudreauRead More »

Latest Penguins Buzz: As Penguins brace for Stanley Cup Final, a wild off-season inches closer


Latest Penguins Buzz If the Stanley Cup Final goes to seven games, it will be played on June 14. The Penguins win, the celebrations, partying, the parade in the days after, what a chaotic/great time it would be right before the June 21 expansion draft. The expansion draft protected list have to be in by June 18. Jim Rutherford, though, embraces chaos in dealing with his pending free agents as a return to the Stanley Cup Final and the off-season pretty much being moved up because of the expansion draft won’t change his philosophy of not negotiating with players during the season. Agents say it’s been crickets from the Penguins. What’s going to happen with the pending unrestricted free agents is easy for the Penguins to deal with. There will be no urgency with Matt Cullen, Ron Hainsey, Chris Kunitz right after the season and Nick Bonino is a situationRead More »

Scouts Buzz: Penguins game plan for a pace dictating Predators defense


Stanley Cup Final: Can Penguins find a way to expose Preds dynamic blueline? The Pittsburgh Penguins this postseason have faced some dynamic defensemen. Zach Werenski, Seth Jones in Round 1, a deep Capitals blueline in Round 2 and of course Erik Karlsson in the Eastern Conference Final. The Nashville Predators blueline as a whole is a different animal when it comes to the top-2 pairings. And what the Penguins haven’t faced yet with the Predators top-2 pairings of Roman Josi – Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm – PK Subban, is how they can push the pace in activating offensively and not missing a beat defensively. No group is better. Roman Josi is one of the best combo defensemen in the NHL in how he’s dominates play in all three zones. Headlined by Josi, a big part of the Penguins game plan these next two days will be dealing with howRead More »

Peter Laviolette vs Mike Sullivan


Peter Laviolette vs Mike Sullivan This year’s #StanleyCup Final between @PredsNHL and @penguins will be the first in #NHL history with two American-born head coaches! — NHLCoaches (@NHLCoachesAssoc) May 26, 2017 When Jim Rutherford fired Mike Johnston and promoted Mike Sullivan from AHL coach to the Penguins new bench boss, one thing that swayed Rutherford to promote Sullivan was how he saw some Peter Laviolette in him. “Mike really is a demanding and take-control guy. In some ways — I actually hate to this, but it’s my mind now, so I’ll do it, he reminds me of a coach that I had a lot of success with, Peter Laviolette.” Jim Rutherford on December 13, 2015 A year and a half later, the two coaches are now squaring off in the Stanley Cup Final and there are a ton of similarities between the two. Laviolette and Sullivan are very demandingRead More »

Here come the Champs: Penguins have found their game at the right time to continue writing their story


Penguins are NHL’s version of “Strength in Numbers” The Pittsburgh Penguins are a franchise that reaches the Stanley Cup Final in pairs. 1991 and 1992, 2008 and 2009 and now 2016 and 2017. “The last 2 years have been quite a ride. We’ll try to do it for another 2 weeks,” Game 7 overtime hero Chris Kunitz said of the Penguins returning to the Stanley Cup Final after Thursday night’s epic 3-2 overtime win. The Ottawa Senators thanks to Craig Anderson overachieved in the Eastern Conference Final and came so close to delivering a shocking Ottawa – Nashville Stanley Cup Final but the Penguins once again just found a way to get the job done. “This was a hard fought series and we knew it was going to be a hard fought series going in,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “Ottawa is a really good team. They’re not hereRead More »

Stanley Cup Bound


Penguins 3 – Senators 2 (2 OT) The Pittsburgh Penguins are heading back to the Stanley Cup Final for the second straight season. An epic Game 7, the hero tonight was Chris Kunitz who ended it at 5:09 of the second overtime, burying a feed from Sidney Crosby at the top of the left circle past Craig Anderson. In scoring his second goal of the night, it was vintage Crosby-Kunitz connecting that has the Penguins four wins away from becoming the first team in 19 years to win back-to-back Stanley Cups. Kunitz starred in the win with 2 goals and 1 assist. Justin Schultz also scored in the Game 7 win, a power play marker in the third period to put the Penguins ahead 2-1 and it was Kunitz again providing the net front presence. What a performance from Kunitz to rise to the occasion at his age and produceRead More »

Game 7: The Hornqvist Factor


Game 7 What might have Penguin fans nervous tonight? It’s the fact that the Senators have a goaltender who is having one of those series where he’s playing well above his ability, has been lights out in four of six games, and it’s an Ottawa team playing with house money. Sound familiar? That was kind of the Pittsburgh Penguins last series vs Washington where they rode goaltending and opportunistic goal scoring to get by a Washington team that had no excuses not to get past the Penguins. It would be something that the Penguins make elite goaltenders Sergei Bobrovsky and Braden Holtby look like AHL goaltenders in Round 1 and 2, then bow out in the Eastern Conference Final to Craig Anderson. Still, the Penguins have a right to be confident tonight. They’ve found ways to dictate the terms, style of play the last three games and have found aRead More »

Game 6 Analysis: On Craig Anderson’s Big night & Takeaways from Penguins – Senators


Game 6: Senators 2 – Penguins 1 Penguins – Senators is now coming down to a Game 7 Thursday night in Pittsburgh for a trip to the Stanley Cup Final. Few probably saw that coming after Sunday afternoon. The Ottawa Senators looked dead in the water after Game 5 with the Penguins delivering a 7-0 beat down and gaining steam. Craig Anderson, though, lived up to his reputation tonight of being a hit or miss goaltender and turned in a big time performance with 45 saves to force a Game 7. Game 6 shouldn’t be over analyzed. Ottawa got great goaltending and were opportunistic when the occasion arose. It was the perfect script for a team that has little margin for error. 0 for their last 29 chances on the power play, the Senators trailing 1-0 and lucky to not be down 2-0 on a disallowed Trevor Daley goal, getRead More »