Final Score of the Season:
Thoughts: It's always sad to say goodbye to hockey because it's a sport that I really anticipate and get so excited for during the offseason. I feel that sometimes I forget to cherish it enough when it finally does come around but then I get so focused during the season that I forget about other sports. I am sad that hockey had to end yesterday but at least it ended in a good way (sorry, Nashville fans).
It ended in a good way for both teams in how Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin both created a great era for their franchise and won their third with the team. We rarely see back-to-back wins in the modern era and only the best can do that. Also, Crosby was not the main star of the team because he had a great offense alongside him that stepped up at the right times. I cannot emphasize enough at how great it was to see rookie Jake Guentzel dominate in the playoffs. He went from being only a name that true Penguins fans would know to a household name that Jimmy Fallon even talked about (he did mispronounce the name, but he thought of him!). Guentzel did not break the record for rookie points in the playoffs but he tied it and will always be there for that. The team approach to the Cup from Pittsburgh was amazing to watch and it made them winning it all that much better.
Now, Nashville did a great job with everything that happened to them. They lost their best forward and a good amount of their goals but their amazing defensemen stepped it up and became even better at both areas. Pekka Rinne is still an elite goaltender and just had some rough games, but hey, he's elite not perfect. Not only did they play even better than they were predicted to but their fans became one of the most loudest in the NHL. The support that the entire city had for them was unreal and it is hard to match. The passion and love for their team proved how powerful hockey can be received in a 'non-hockey' market like the South. The road was not easy for them to stay in Nashville over the years, but it sure paid off this season.
Relive Pittsburgh's amazing victory through photos!
It's been two weeks into the Cup Final and today could be our last day of the season; there's just one catch, Nashville has to lose at home which has only happened ONCE in the playoffs (10 total home games). Let's see if Pittsburgh is the team to break their dominance.
Pittsburgh could end it today if they continue their offensive dominance that fooled Nashville's amazing defense last time around. It's not easy to win in Nashville, but from what we've seen from the Penguins' last trip to there, they did not have the best time so this would be the perfect revenge to those who threw a towel at Evgeni Malkin or those who served catfish to Jake Guentzel. I'm sure they are sick of the goalie chants and the smell of raw catfish on the ice, so they are motivated to win.
Those things work in Nashville's favor and they love it. They love intimidation, jokes, and throwing off their enemy. It's worked in the past three series but can it work again? Pekka Rinne will be back in this game because he had a rough game and now he's ready to bounce back.
If Pittsburgh wins tonight, it will be a great Stanley Cup champion because the atmosphere in Nashville's arena has been unreal. They can't let anyone get to them.
No game scheduled for today but the series kicks up again TOMORROW in Smashville! So be there or be square (dancing)!
Just kidding because they don't square dance in Nashville nor can most of the country actually make it to the game.
Since we still have a day to think about the next game, let's go over some of the celebrities who are currently supporting the Predators (there's a lot so we need a list!):
*There's definitely more but this list definitely shows a good amount of country music singers. If you like country, then maybe you like the Preds too! Or maybe you prefer the Pens, which is fine also!
The fans for Pittsburgh include people like Justin Bieber, Ben Roethlisberger, and Michael Keaton. Who needs a bunch of celebrity fans when you have Sidney Crosby though? He's a celebrity himself!
Thoughts: There's really not much to say for this one because Nashville was gone around the first period of this game.
Defense did not look sharp like usual and allowed holes to where forwards had to defend attackers. When that happened, Pittsburgh's top forwards easily scored. It was a big comeback for Pittsburgh after being held to two goals in Games 3 and 4.
Pittsburgh was also able to be on better behavior than Nashville and that allowed opportunities to at least have the advantage, since power play goals are not their stongest suit still.
Great job once again to Jake Guentzel on now tying the record for most points by a rookie in the postseason. Guentzel ties a 36 year-old record from Dino Ciccarelli at 21 points.
This is one of the most important games because either Nashville keeps riding their momentum and becomes one win away from their first Cup or Pittsburgh makes their comeback and prove that they have not been asleep in the past two games.
This game will definitely be one to watch as the action becomes more interesting now that Pittsburgh is the host. No catfish and smashing allowed here.
No game today again so we can fully be ready for tomorrow's madness! Now that the series is tied, this is starting to get more interesting and exciting but also stressful. Give your heart a break and relax today.
Enjoy some awkward, but great, draft photos of some Stanley Cup players in honor of the scouting combine going on for the draft class of 2017!
Roman Josi, Class of '08
Josi before he learned of his potential through Shea Weber.
Evgeni Malkin, Class of '04
This is their version of the awkward senior photos that other kids their age took.
P.K. Subban, Class of '07.
I wonder if this is "P.K. Approved".
Sidney Crosby, Class of '05.
Nope. It doesn't get better than this.
Thoughts: Pekka Rinne once again stole the show from Pittsburgh with 23 saves. He shut down almost every opportunity, except for one goal from Sidney Crosby, but other than that he stopped Crosby's other THREE attempts.
It's been exciting to see Frederick Gaudreau's role grow more on the team as he is proving himself to be a useful asset to winning the Cup. He showed up in his first game with 10 faceoff wins vs. one of the best faceoff teams in hockey and then a couple games later was when he got the scoring touch. He's been great in these past few games when his team needs him the most and he is a great surprise to them.
Once again, Pittsburgh's power play is dormant right now. If only something would be powerful enough to wake it up for a longer time because they need that.
Crosby deserved better and I hope they give that to him because he stepped up from 0 shots to 4 last night. He definitely decided to listen to the criticism and do what he had to do. If his team did what he did for the power play then they can go far.
The saga returns tonight as Pittsburgh tries to get back on top while Nashville hopes to prove their home ice dominance and tie the series. Things are starting to heat up more between both teams as their players start to become more physical (and verbal!) with each other.
Tonight will not be an exception with all that is being said in between the games and the participation of the crowd. Nashville will definitely be rocking tonight and Murray and the Penguins have to be more prepared tonight. Maybe the last game taught them what they needed to know for tonight.
Thoughts: Talk about a home ice advantage! Nashville fought back last night in a big way and all those shots on goal paid off from the past two games. You would figure that they would be in for an offensive outburst after all the effort they put in before, even though up until tonight it was Pittsburgh that knew how to find the back of the net.
You could also say that P.K. Subban was right about this game and that was not arrogance at all. Subban's boldness paid off and it really represented what this team is about. This team and its fanbase are both bold and flashy and know that they deserve better in this series. They will not back down, especially not in Nashville.
Pittsburgh can come back from this because they probably came into this series expecting a fight from Nashville on defense. The Penguins will return in the next game and either Murray or Fleury will be in net and ready to go again.
The Stanley Cup Final starts back up again tonight in Nashville for the first time ever as the Predators try to make a comeback in the series and back P.K. Subban's promise of winning. The Predators have to make history by making a comeback unless they would rather have the Penguins make history.
Tonight is a big game and the Penguins need to be ready to take on the energy in the arena. If they can, they can get that much closer to winning it all again.
*At this time, we still do not know who is starting in goal for Nashville. Rinne said he knew but was secretive about it. Thanks a lot, Pekka.
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!