The NHL Stanley Cup Finals are squared at 2 games apiece and the Nashville Predators, the first of the four ‘June 1997 expansion era’ teams to make it to the Finals, are halfway to making history.
NHL Stanley Cup Finals – Predators are Halfway to History
What a great coaching job by Peter Laviolette (who is the fourth coach in NHL history to lead three different teams, the Hurricanes and Flyers previously, to the Stanley Cup Finals) and his staff to refocus their team after the heartbreaking game 1 loss in Pittsburgh.
Mike Sullivan and the Penguins coaching staff seem to be scrambling now in net (as of this writing no game 5 starter had been announced) as the flip-flopping between Matt Murray, who took over the crease from Marc-Andre Fleury in the ECF, might be continuing. I do question this method of playing hot potato with the goalies, as it seems to backfire and mess with their respective confidence more often then not.
On the other side of the ice, the Predators are continuing to rely on what got them here. Pekka Rinne (my top pick for the Conn Smythe Trophy) and the big four on D (PK Subban, Roman Josi, Mattias Ekholm, and Ryan Ellis) have brought Nashville to the cusp of greatness. With top center Ryan Johansen out for the rest of the postseason, the pressure’s on Rinne and the defense to win two more games. Offensively for Nashville, Filip Forsberg (my second pick for the Conn Smythe Trophy) had been quiet all series until his 3rd period goal Monday night. If he can build on that look out the rest of the series as he continues to show he was the best forward from the 2012 draft.
PK Subban and Mattias Ekholm had shut down everyone they’ve faced thus far but we know Crosby/Malkin would be their toughest challenge yet. The Penguins two superstars have scored but I don’t think they have really taken over and dominated a game like we all know they can.
Stanley Cup Finals Pick
Both teams are extremely good and as I wrote before I thought the series would easily go to 6 or 7 games. The Penguins have been fighting along valiantly this postseason but I believe the Predators are halfway to history, being a team of destiny and history if you read my previous article. I’m still banking on Nashville’s back end depth and scoring to prove too much a challenge for Pittsburgh over the course of the coming games.
Ice Cold Prediction: I’m staying with the Predators in 6
Formally of Yahoo! Fantasy Sports, Robert Yetto Jr. is a lifelong hockey fan and die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. He is also an avid fan of baseball (bring back the Expos), football, and soccer. Please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.