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The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is upon us and NHL fans around the world are intrigued by this match-up.
The Nashville Predators were a wild card seed in the west pinned up against the top seed in the west Chicago Blackhawks. Nashville swept Chicago in four games and continued their rampage beating St. Louis and Anaheim in six games to win the Western Conference.
This has been hockey’s best cinderella story in recent memory. Nashville a city never known for supporting a hockey team has rallied behind this team. Bridgestone Arena has been electric throughout these playoffs.
This brings back memories of the Western Conference 2012 eight seed Los Angeles Kings who made a run quite like Nashville’s and even came away with the Stanley Cup beating the New Jersey Devils for the title. Smashville is buzzing, and for them anything is possible.
The underdogs from the West are pinned up against who else but the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
This Penguins team is on the verge of becoming a dynasty. Sydney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel, are three world-class players in the same line-up. Not only that, but the young talent is still there for the Penguins as well.
Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel, and Olli Matta are all big parts of this Penguins team, and they are all under 25 years of age. You would think that surely, the Steel City is going to welcome Lord Stanley once again.
Here are my predictions.
1) This will be a low-scoring series
You may think I’m contradicting myself after listing all of Pittsburgh’s offensive superstars just a few sentences ago, but let me explain. Nashville are the single strongest defensive team in the National Hockey League, and its why they’re in the Stanley Cup Finals.
They have two pairs of elite defencemen in Roman Josi, PK Subban, Ryan Ellis, and Mattias Ekholm. This is enough to compete and cancel with Pittsburgh’s offense. At the same time Pekka Rinne is backstopping for the Predators and as or right now he has been lights out. This combo can and will turn this series into a low scoring affair.
2) Pittsburgh won’t win a game in Nashville
Bridgestone Arena is Proving to be the toughest place to play in the league. In Smashville it gets loud. Nashville are the type of team that can frustrate an opponent quickly, especially at home.
Their defence and goaltending is hard to crack, and a team like the Penguins that is used to lighting the lamp constantly will be frustrated by this team. It is hard to say this about such a solid team, but the Pens will buckle in Bridgestone Arena, and it will cost them the series.
3) Pekka Rinne will shut the Penguins out at least twice
It would seem that all my predictions are based on a central theme at this point. Nashville’s defence. It is my theory that the defence will beat the Penguins offense as it is. This is because defence wins championships, and if you can’t score you can’t win.
This is what will happen to the Penguins. For the first time they Penguins offense will find no source of production.
4) Predators in five