This goes beyond the fear of Pittsburgh wiping away Detroit's record as the last back-to-back champion in a year where the Red Wings organization has already lost so much; this Stanley Cup Final is yet another chance to maintain or rewrite the NHL's stars.
In giving his annual state of the NHL address hours before Monday's Stanley Cup Final opener, commissioner Gary Bettman devoted a sizable portion defending the effectiveness of the league's controversial coach's challenge system, which has come under criticism often since its implementation in 2015.
A lot of National Hockey League fans might be placing their bets on the Penguins because of last year's outcome but the Predators are more than capable of winning the title this season.
Rinne has been the standout in this series. Those three players are within striking distance of the Predators franchise, which in its history has 214 postseason goals.
The two strengths could force this series into a tight nail biter, especially after seeing how Ottawa was able to shut down the Penguins. Due to a lack of production, however, the team's attendance dropped significantly from 2002-04. All that matters is which team is the best on four particular nights in late May and early June, and a hot goalie like Pekka Rinne is going to give the Penguins fits as they try to be better than him. Production has been consistent and beneficial for the Predators which is evident in their place in the Cup final. Colton Sissons and Filip Forsberg have been just two of the Preds' top performers, but production has been coming from everywhere. The Predators have gained some rest as they took the Ducks out in 6 while Pittsburgh had a few more days to fight for their 2nd straight Cup berth and had to win a double overtime game.
And as exciting as Music City will be when Game 3 is played there Saturday night, this best-of-seven series is still all about the Penguins.
Guentzel still leads the playoffs with nine goals. Aberg has been solid this postseason on the 2nd line as he was called up from the AHL just before it started.
"So for a team to not only have the talent and the players to be able to get there and do it, to repeat the whole process again and then stay away from injuries and bad luck, bad bounces, it's become very hard". The Senators were weakened by injuries to defenseman Mark Borowiecki and winger Alexandre Burrows, and captain and best player Erik Karlsson played through pain and nearly carried them past the Penguins. And now they're set to square off with a battled-tested Penguins bunch. Nashville's defence. It is my theory that the defence will beat the Penguins offense as it is. Let's go Nashville in seven to cap off another unpredictably thrilling string of Stanley Cup playoff showdowns. Even with them facing a superior Penguins squad, look for them to make this a very close final. They've proved that their offensive boom and brick wall defense and goal-tending can be Stanley Cup worthy. A short series could quickly have the common fan seeking out excitement. But he never made it to Sochi after being struck by a puck in the right eye at a Predators' morning skate, breaking his nose and costing him his vision. The title-winning experience, the sudden and justified ascension of Matt Murray, the highlight-reel scoring talent of Sidney Crosby, and countless others in Pittsburgh's overall pool of talent sure do.