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!
Winning the Cup is a full team effort and these rookies are proving that they are very much apart of the hard work and skill that goes into winning it all. These are not the guys that have lower minutes and hardly make an impact when they do get out there. These are the names you need to know for the future when they lead their team further ahead.
On Monday, Gaudreau helped the Predators tie up the series with his game-winning goal in Game 4. Gaudreau now has 2 game-winning goals and has only played 7 games so far. His face-off percentage now is 43.6%.
Even Jimmy Fallon could not resist talking about a rookie! His superlative may not be the best but hey, Guentzel now has hit it big time by his mention on national television. The only problem is that he said his name wrong (it's NOT Gun-tzul, it's Gen-tzul!) which is a *rookie mistake*.
It's been the most fun doing these reports and I cannot thank you all for this wonderful season and class of rookies. I am not sure if next year will come close to what went on this year but I hope it will be as fun and exciting to watch. Thank you again and best of luck to these rookies tonight! I want another record broken for a rookie!
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.
The action heated up for the rookies this week in the Stanley Cup, including games decided by their goals or games where they were the only one to score for their team. This series has really shown the development of these first-timers and has proven their worth to the team.
Pontus Aberg? More like Pointus Aberg!
Aberg scored Nashville's only goal this in Game Two of the series in Pittsburgh. It was his first goal since May 20 and last point since May 22. Aberg now has 2 goals and 3 assists in 13 games.
Frederick Gaudreau... into the net!
Gaudreau scored his first playoff goal back in Game One of the series and then scored his second in last night's romp in Nashville. Gaudreau has played only 5 games so far and has found his scoring touch now. Let's see where he can go in another home game tomorrow...
It's Jake N' Bake Time!
Guentzel now is second for the all-time rookie scoring leaders in the playoffs with his 20 points. He just needs one more goal to tie it up and put his name in history (he can do a double whammy by putting it in history another way too).
Here's how Guentzel earned his points in the Final for this week:
Game One- Game-Winning Goal
Game Two- Two goals, including a game-winner
Game Three- Scored the lone goal for Pittsburgh and became second in all-time rookie scoring in the playoffs
Conclusion: It's good to be Guentzel.
Another wonderful week of rookies and I cannot be happier! When the rookies do well, things go well for us too! Thanks for reading along and maybe this can continue?
One century of this game and League is a wonderful milestone to celebrate. Let's hope to do this in the next century!