Wilson could return for Predators in Game 5 of Cup Final

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 10, 2017

Ryan Ellis and Mattias Eckholm have both been caught pinching on plays that have gone the other way for easy two on one goals in Pittsburgh. The Penguins are 4-0 in their last 4 Thursday games and the under is 4-1-2 in Penguins last 7 when their opponent allows 2 goals or less in their previous game while the Penguins are 1-4 in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest. "We came here with the mission to win the game and we didn't have the start or the game we wanted". "They capitalized on our mistakes, and we have to do the same".

"Obviously not the start you want to have", Rinne said. Of the eleven shots that Rinne faced in Game 1, the defense was out of position on about six of them not including the one that deflected off Mattias Eckholm.

The makeshift shrine is situated toward the front of the Predators' dressing room. The only game that was remotely close was the freakish first game where Pittsburgh only had eleven shots but managed five goals. He sat for the first month of the playoffs before making his postseason debut in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against Anaheim.

Heady territory for an undrafted free agent once considered too small (6-feet, 179 pounds) to be an impact player at this level.

The Pittsburgh Penguins appeared to be on the brink of back to back Stanley Cup championships after taking a 2-0 series lead heading to Bridgestone Arena.

Over the last two games, the Penguins have allowed nine goals, while Predators goalie Pekka Rinne has performed remarkably, allowing just two goals with 50 saves in that time.

Let's forget for a minute that Crosby only got a two-minute minor on the play, because refs miss calls all the time, but to defend Crosby or anyone else for punching another player's head into the ice is not just irresponsible, but part of the destructive hockey culture that tries to justify unsafe hits. The Penguins now are 13-3 after a playoff loss under coach Mike Sullivan, and Murray is 7-1 in playoff games started after a loss. He went 15-6 with a.923 save percentage to win the Cup at the age of 22. The best thing about my job is when I'm in work for two straight months, like the National Hockey League playoffs, I'm in a room with 20 televisions. So did a "what, me worry?" attitude that made him seemingly immune to the stakes. The Penguins were looking to be in route to a dominant series victory after putting every opportunity, albeit not many, in the back of the net. "It doesn't matter if you've been there or not". And then came Gaudreau's goal, confirmed only after the horn sounded and officials reviewed the play. Guentzel has four. Gaudreau has three.

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There was no hangover from two straight road losses for the champs. In the first two periods of Game 3, he still looked a little nervous when playing the puck around the boards which is uncharacteristic of him to say the least. Gaudreau did the same during the series' debut in Smashville.

"We're confident our team will respond the right way, as they always have all season long", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. We thought we played a real competitive game in Game 2.

Of course there's a learning curve. The evidence will be on the ice Thursday, when Guentzel could take another step to becoming first rookie since goaltender Cam Ward with Carolina in 2006 to win the Smythe as playoff MVP.

So what else is it going to take for Gaudreau to receive a permanent locker stall? "That hasn't changed", Sullivan said.

So do the Predators, who can't get back to Smashville fast enough.

And more prepared than ever to make the most of it.

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