Kunitz's double-OT goal sends Penguins back to Stanley Cup


29 May, 2017

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back in the Stanley Cup finals, giving them a chance to be repeat champions. Sports Interaction oddsmakers give the edge to Sidney Crosby & Co.

You'd think, then, given all that's transpired in between, Subban would have plenty of topics to discuss on Sunday for Stanley Cup Final media day. For example, the Los Angeles Kings hoisted the Cup as one back in 2012. By 16 seed, we mean the lowest team on the entire playoff ladder. "When he won his first Cup it felt like it was the beginning of the Crosby-Cup era and we were going to see him do this five or six times".

The Penguins arguably had a less challenging path: First they booted the Columbus Blue Jackets, a team that has never had any playoff success. "There's different guys here, but this is what you work hard for all year - to give yourself a chance to play in this situation".

But Murray was going nowhere near hockey's holy grail. When the Stars' season ended in game seven of the Western Conference semifinals past year, it was clear that Fiddler, who was a pending UFA at the time, might never skate another game in Victory Green.

After getting treated for acute compartment syndrome on his left thigh this May, Ryan Johansen is expected to make a full recovery, but he won't be able to play in the finals.

"It should be some exciting hockey as far as back and forth and fast and physical", Crosby said. Sportsnet and CBC combined averaged 4.29 million viewers, making it Canada's most watched game of the 2017 postseason and the most watched playoff game in Senators franchise history.

Nashville will counter with goalie Pekka Rinne, who has been sensational throughout the playoffs. Not bad for a guy taken with the final pick of the eighth round in the 2004 draft.

This also has to feel sweet for blueliner and Toronto native P.K. Subban, who was traded to Nashville last offseason from Montreal for Shea Weber. Roy won it in 1996 with Colorado.

But rest has served the Predators well during the playoffs. Only the Blues (+3500) and Maple Leafs (+4000) had longer odds. "The first to four wins, so the ultimate prize is at the end and we want to get there". "This year, it's been back and forth and it's been tough".

It took until 2012 for two US captains to meet in the final when the Kings' Dustin Brown faced the Devils' Zach Parise. Chris Kunitz's double-OT victor to send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final fluttered, knuckled its way just past an inadvertent screen, rising the whole time, and found twine above the right shoulder of a wide-eyed Craig Anderson, who was clearly thrown by the wavering puck. As Chris Kunitz said after becoming the hero of the Penguins' Game 7 win over Ottawa, "they have four Erik Karlssons". Crosby had the main assist on the victor. One of Pittsburgh general manager Jim Rutherford's first moves when he was hired in 2014 was to trade forward James Neal to the Predators for Patric Hornqvist and Nick Spaling. The Predators face the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 on Monday, May 29. That's the total for Game 1.

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Even Nashville's Austin Watson understands why Pittsburgh is considered the favourite heading into the final. Twenty seconds after Chris Kunitz scored on a 2-on-1 breakaway ten minutes into the second period, Mark Stone answered for the Senators with a top-shelf wrister from closer range to keep the game 1-1.

The Pens also got a lift when Sullivan inserted goalie Matt Murray into the lineup in place of Marc-Andre Fleury.

Down the middle: In Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, the Penguins have two of the game's premier centers. Crosby won it previous year and Malkin in 2009.

This time, the Penguins' run isn't about a dynasty but winning another championship. On playoff game days, people proudly wear the colours.

Any traditional analysis suggests the Predators are the underdog, but they have played the entire postseason as if they the team to beat. Fiala and Viktor Arvidsson scored two goals for Nashville.

This, after all, is the first Stanley Cup Final in team history. Laviolette won the Cup in 2006 as coach of the Carolina Hurricanes and lost in 2010 with the Flyers vs.

Pittsburgh's defense has thrived even without Letang. Nashville is better defensively.

Pittsburgh has been the best home team in the National Hockey League this season, going a combined 38-7-6 in 51 regular season and playoff games, and have had the Predators' number, winning nine of its past 13 matchups with Nashville including a 5-1 victory as -125 home chalk in late October. Winning one Stanley Cup is unbelievable. So will Pittsburgh, in seven games.

Not their home-ice advantage.

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