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Category: Pittsburgh-Penguins

Still No Clear Favorite After Four Stanley Cup Final Games

from Chris Johnston of Sportsnet,

If you were to go only by the scores you might think this is one of the worst Stanley Cup finals in history.

5-3, 4-1, 5-1, 4-1.

Except that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Through four games the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins have given us exactly what you want out of a championship series. They’ve both provided us reasons to believe they’re on the verge of lifting the Cup. They’ve also dropped a few hints of doubt.

As we return to PPG Paints Arena for Game 5 on Thursday night, there is legitimate tension and intrigue with three games – at most – to play before summer.

Ask yourself: Who is going to win this thing?

"We’ll see over this next little bit," said Sidney Crosby, when asked Wednesday if his Penguins team has a special winning quality to it. "But what got us here is we’ve found ways, that we believe in each other. We’ve gone through things like injuries and stuff like that. We’ve been told how hard it is to even get to this position, so I think the fact that we’ve gotten here we’ve overcome certain things.

"We’ve got to find a way to get two more wins here."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Pittsburgh Penguins Are Focused On Game 5

from Michelle Crechiolo of PittsburghPenguins.com,

There's a lot of outside negativity surrounding the Penguins after losing two straight games on the road to Nashville in the Stanley Cup Final.

That negativity hasn't crept inside the Penguins locker room.

The Pens are a confident, excited group heading into Game 5 of what is currently a tied series. They're returning home to an arena they've been excellent in all year, and they believe they'll get the result they want if they continue to play the same way.

"I'm proud of my team, I'm proud of every player here," Evgeni Malkin said. "It's not an easy season for us, so many injuries. But we're still playing, we're a good team and I know tomorrow we'll play so hard and it's a good situation for us. (The series is) 2-2, we're even. We're playing tomorrow here at home, it's a good chance to lead the series."

One storyline that followed the team back to Pittsburgh is that the Pens haven't been getting enough from Malkin and Kessel this series. However, Malkin scored in each of the first two games of the Final and leads the NHL with 26 points in 23 games. While he may not have tallied in the next two, he knows what he needs to do to improve for Game 5.

"It's not easy but I know I can be better, myself," he said. "Play more with the puck. Hold onto the puck a little more. I like to play with the puck. It's not easy, we're playing against a good team, but just play the same as we did the first two games at home. I think it's fine. Just a little harder, play with the puck a little more and use Phil more."

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- Hits Of The Week

Sportsnet style, games 1-4 of the Stanley Cup Final.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

First To Two Wins

from Bruce Arthur of the Toronto Star,

Let’s say it: The Pittsburgh Penguins, defending Stanley Cup champs, winners of the first two games of the Stanley Cup final, second-best record in the league and they beat the best guys, are underdogs. Yes, the series is tied 2-2. Yes, Nashville needs to win a game in Pittsburgh to win the series. Yes, if Nashville wins the Cup in Game 6 at home, while the CMA Music Festival is in town, well, the hangover might last the summer. Just stay inside with a cool compress on your forehead, and have some hot fried chicken and lemonade.

But after four games, the Nashville Predators are 10 minutes from a sweep. Ten bad minutes, spread over two games, when their goaltender suddenly fell apart and the bounces went the other way, all at the same time. Nashville is without its No. 1 centre, and Pittsburgh got better in Game 4, and they still got rolled. Through four games, the Predators are getting about 56 per cent of the available shot attempts at 5-on-5. That, in hockey, is one hell of an advantage.

“Our guys were pretty confident after Game 2,” said Nashville coach Peter Laviolette. “I know it’s a nasty hole to be in, but we really liked the way we played in Game 1. We thought we played a real competitive game in Game 2. Could have had results in both those games.”

In other words, Nashville knows the score, or thinks it does. The Predators have more speed at the back end than Pittsburgh does, which is like saying that Nashville has more country music playing in bars than Pittsburgh does. As a result, the Penguins have been trying to figure out how to do things like get the puck up the ice and score on the power play. (The Penguins are 1-16 on the power play in the series and the one came at the very end of a 5-on-3.)

continued

Continue Reading »

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Morning Line- Michael Traikos On The Stanley Cup Final

As non-competitive as the first two games between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have been, it’s not as though the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators have been producing must-watch TV.

Yes, the series is tied 2-2 and has a chance to go the distance for the first time in six years. And sure, there have been a total of 24 goals scored in the four games. But has it been exciting? Three of the games were blowouts. The one that wasn’t a blowout featured five goals on 12 shots from the winning team.

-Michael Traikos of the National Post where you can read more on the SCF.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Now What Pittsburgh?

from Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun,

So, what does Sullivan do now?

How does the coach who has answer for everything, answer now?

Evgeni Malkin, the leading scorer in the playoffs, has been a diminishing asset in the post-season. He had 11 points in the first round, seven in the second, six in the third, he has two in four games in the Cup Final. He is a centreman and he has no assists in eight of the Penguins' last nine playoff games. The Predators have basically removed him from the series.

At home, can Sullivan find a way to get Malkin some space and maybe some lost confidence back?

Phil Kessel was a giant on the way to the Penguins' last Cup. This series, he has been invisible off the ice, almost invisible on it. He has one assist in the Cup Final and just one goal in his last nine playoff games. He has nine shots on goal in this series. Last year, against San Jose, he had 25.

Conor Sheary, a 53-point man in the regular season, has one goal in 20 post-season games. Last spring, Nick Bonino and Carl Hagelin, two thirds of that amazing third line with Kessel, combined for 34 playoff points. Huge numbers. Right now, with Bonino doubtful to play in Game 5 and Hagelin an also-ran in the lineup, the two have combined for eight points. One by Hagelin.

Only Sidney Crosby has been a straight line for the Penguins in the way he has played consistently since Sullivan took over coaching partway through last season.

more

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It Doesn’t Appear Pittsburgh Will Make A Goalie Switch For Game 5

from Jonathan Bombulie of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review,

When a visiting goalie gives up a goal, the boisterous fans at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena like to remind him, via a loud and popular chant, that it was all his fault.

When it comes to Matt Murray and the 4-1 loss he and the Penguins suffered in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, coach Mike Sullivan disagrees.

“We haven't lost games because of our goaltending. That's my thought,” Sullivan said in a conference call Tuesday, giving a de facto vote of confidence to his 23-year-old goaltender.

Sullivan stopped short of naming Murray the starter for Game 5 on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena. Veteran Marc-Andre Fleury carried the Penguins through the first two rounds of the playoffs before giving way to Murray in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals.

“We make our lineup decisions on a game-by-game basis,” Sullivan said. “The one comment I will make is we didn't lose the game last night because of our goaltending.”

continued

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Watching Game 4 Of The Stanley Cup Final

via NBC Sports Twitter,

Last night’s Game 4 of Pit-Nas Stanley Cup Final on NBC delivered 4.14 overnight rating, topping all SCF games last year with Pit-SJ

Gm4onNBC between @penguins & @PredsNHL delivered 4.14 overnight rating, up 33% vs last yr (Pit-SJ) & 2nd-best for Gm4 on NBC/NBCSN since ‘06

With a 28.0 local rating in Nashville, Game 4 was highest-rated Predators game EVER on networks of NBC, ahead of SCF Game 1 on NBC (22.5)

Pittsburgh delivered a 30.9 local rating for Game 4

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

The Storyline From Nashville And Pittsburgh

ffrom Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Hockey is perfectly executed exchanges gone awry and random puck fumblings gone to the back of the net. It is a breathtaking commute between frustration and elation, and this city is all in for wherever this ride goes.

Hockey has existed in Nashville at the NHL level for 20 years, and the Nashville Predators are two wins from possessing its ultimate prize for the first time. Monday’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins to tie the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2 treated another combustible Bridgestone Arena crowd to thrills from one end of the ice to the other, enough promising opportunities for both teams that this could have ended 7-2 either way.

But that’s hockey. And the Predators might be the best hockey team going. That will be determined in what is now a best-of-three series, starting with Game 5 on Thursday at defending champ Pittsburgh, followed by Game 6 on Sunday back in Nashville.

One team or the other will hoist the Stanley Cup that night, or this will come down to Game 7 on June 14 at the Penguins’ PPG Paints Arena. Maybe throw in a few overtimes for good measure. Why not?

continued

from Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Video- A Save Is A Save In Any Language

Pekka Rinne is from Finland, the radio broadcaster is Finnish.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Nashville Predators, Pittsburgh Penguins, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: pekka+rinne

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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