Just like that the Stanley Cup Final has come down to a best of three series. While the NBA finals haven’t had much flare the excitement in the Stanley Cup has been unbelievable. The home team has won all four games and if Nashville wants the Cup they need to change that. The series shifts to Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
Nashville certainly held up its end of the bargain by providing an electric atmosphere for both games and helping the Predators even the series back up. The Preds looked like an entirely different team on home ice as they handed Pittsburgh two losses at scores of 5–1 and 4–1. The biggest difference for the Preds was Pekka Rinne’s play. Rinne looked bad in the first two games of the series but upon his return to home ice he found himself and posted two stellar performances between the pipes. Maybe all Rinne needed was some hometown cooking to get back to form. If Rinne can keep this up for a few away games the Preds can take the series and the Cup.
The Predators defense has shut down the Penguins offense which could be key to them winning the cup. If Pittsburgh can’t figure out how to power through a deep Predator defense they might be out of luck. Another concern for them was Matt Murrays play in net, he looked shaky on a few goals in Nashville and maybe we could see Fleury return to the net for Pittsburgh. The Penguins need production from their top guys, Crosby is doing his job but his supporting cast of Malkin and Kessel has been quiet the past two games. It was thought that the Penguins had a chance of getting Letang back for the last few games but that rumor was squashed by head coach Mike Sullivan who ruled Letang out for the remainder of the final. That’s a big blow for the Penguins but they’ve been playing well defensively without him but a guy of Letang’s caliber is a game changer.
One things for sure this series has been full of life and even gotten a little chippy at times. The crazy fans in Nashville certainly love hockey and love chirping the opposing team. They let Murray hear it after every Preds goal “Murray, Murray, YOU SUCK. It’s all your fault, it’s all your fault!” Was one of the deafening chants heard in Bridgestone Arena. Luckily for the Penguins they have the home ice advantage and as long as the Preds don’t steal a game on the road it will be tough for the Penguins to lose this series. This has been an exciting series and it looks like it might take all seven games to find a winner.
Written By: Tyler Smith (@TylerSmith4386)