Tonight is Game 6 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final. The Pittsburgh Penguins can do what few sports teams can do: repeat as champions. They lead the series with the Nashville Predators 3-2 in this series.
In this series the home ice has proven to be an advantage though. The Pens won the first two games in their building and the Preds won their two home games. Then the Pens shut out the Preds at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
To close out this Stanley Cup Final Pittsburgh will have to do something it hasn’t done yet in this series: win at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Preds Goalie Pekka Rinne has only given up two goals at Bridgestone in this Final; one in Game 3 and another in Game 4. Winning in Nashville — and the Stanley Cup — won’t be easy. It’s the least likely outcome for this game.
Besides a goalie that is great on his own ice, the Predators have the best defensive line in hockey. Led by P.K. Subban. They play in the offensive zone very well and can crowd the Penguins net looking for rebound shots and any mistakes by the Pittsburgh goalie. Tonight that will be Matt Murray.
Murray has given up eight goals in the building during the Final. It doesn’t fall entirely on his shoulders, but he will be tested hard tonight by an unrelenting Predators attack. He will need a lot of help from his defensive line to keep the puck out of the net.
Defenseman Ryan Ellis of Nashville was injured in Game 5, but was skating this morning so there is a good chance he will be in Game 6.
Leading the Penguins, as usual, will be Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, considered the best player in the league right now. He has the ability to lift his team above the challenges and lead them to a win. Can he and his team do it tonight?
They key to success tonight will be getting goals early in the game and forcing the opponent to chase the puck. If the Predators get off to a fast start it will be a long night for Pittsburgh.
Rinne left Game 5 after the first period when the Pens had scored three goals. That could be great motivation for Pittsburgh so we should see them attacking the Press’ net early and hard.
Emotions were in Pittsburgh for Game 5. We can expect they will be the same tonight. There were 22 penalties called in Game 5, 17 of them in the third period. The season is on the line for Nashville and both teams know it so this could be another Battle Royale. It’s a rocking night in Smashville.
Claudia Gestro is covering Game 6. Below are her reports from Games 4 and 5. Her reports have been sponsored by Bio Pharma, a leading provider of all natural supplements and other products.
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UPDATE: In a thrilling Game 6, the Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a feat rarely seen in sports: They won a second Stanley Cup Final, repeating as the Stanley Cup Champions for the second year in a row. the final score of the game was 2-0.
Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second consecutive year — the Most Valuable Player of the Playoffs.
Photos by Claudia Gestro
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