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And That is That.

Posted by Radatz on June 11, 2017 at 11:05 PM


Admit it, you knew this was coming. For every faceoff win and all the time spent in possession of the puck, Nashville had seemingly two giveaways, largely dopey passes to zones, sometimes with wide open men in clear view. The Penguins almost invariably pounced on the unforced-loose-puck machine and eventually it paid off. Wouldn't you know that the winner would come from behind the goalie, but it's been happening a lot. Pittsburgh deserved it. They played smarter, rarely tossing pucks around. In a game where both teams worked hard, their superior passing and puckhandling skills eventually won out. It was bound to happen. When they had the puck, which they didn't for a lot of the game(s), they did something productive with it.


It was a trademark of a postseason that saw them largely outplayed territorially by a 108-point team (Columbus) and a 118-point top seed (Washington), yet still win. Their biggest challenge by far came from a 98-point team (Ottawa) who took them to the absolute brink by virtue of superior organization. With healthy stars they may even have won. But Pitt hung on. By contrast, the 94-point bottom seed of the playoffs was a relative cakewalk, for all the high hopes. Nashville remained enigmatic, but it wasn't enough to stop a determined (and quite deterministic) foe.


True, Nashville had their injury problems much like Ottawa, perhaps worse. But Pitt had a few. Forgotten in the glitz is the loss of their starting goalie moments before game 1 of the first round, forcing his aging, washed-up-10-times replacement into the net cold. All Fleury did was beat teams that probably should have beaten Pittsburgh. Fleury was reminiscent of Bledsoe vs. Pittsburgh in the first year of the millenium's most fabled dynasty. All he did was beat the heavy favorite on their own field, then, minus much explanation, resume sitting while his upstart successor took the reins again. Of course, we don't know if Murray is the next Tom Brady of NHL goalies (or even the next Fleury, really), but he came back and played very well. The unlikely tandem was, but for Anderson, the best goaltending package of the postseason. They were supposed to be a weak spot. Didn't happen. They may have been Pittsburgh's strongest asset.

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10 Comments

Reply the immortal scurds
2:07 AM on June 12, 2017 
i want to see if the preds can adjust. it seems to me its too easy for the pens to make dramatic cross ice passes. and renny plays well out at the top ofb the crease, like goalies r told to do, but pitts makes a point of getting players behind him down lo.the preds should find a way to hack down some of those shrubs growing at the side of their net.
-7:11 PM on May 30, 2017
Reply the immortal scurds
2:08 AM on June 12, 2017 
it sucks to have that bad of a goal screw up
Reply vapor5
10:24 AM on June 12, 2017 
watched period 1 and thought it's tied but Pitt will win. congrats to the pens . also I tip my hat to Nashville for becoming a serious hockey town.
Reply Radatz
1:20 PM on June 12, 2017 
Good point Vap. They do seem to love hockey. I admit becoming a snob about expansion when I went to central PA in 1971 with a hockey stick and nobody knew what it was. Hell, even at Grand Central in NY there was some head scratching. What you learn on a bus! But the NSH fans love the game, that's for sure.
Reply Radatz
2:14 PM on June 12, 2017 
Couple more thoughts on this. As predicted, the world series was played in round 2 in the east. And despite all the injuries to BOS, OTT, NSH and even PIT, the wild card of the playoffs was the goaltending. Did not go as planned, and not just with Rinne.
Reply Ark_Razor
6:34 AM on June 13, 2017 
PIT got the two biggest calls in the series. That may have impacted two of their wins.

With that being said, NAS could not score in the last two games. Hard 2 believe the Pens are repeat champs with their MASH roster, but they deserved it.
Reply Radatz
12:29 PM on June 13, 2017 
Especially that offside challenge. It may have been correct technically, but there was no need of it. We would have had a game 7.

But I think Pitt would have won it. A puck on the boards always had 2 Pens and 1 Pred on it. And the Pitt in-the-zone offense seemed way better structured. And, of course, there was the Pekka issue.

All the teams that played Pitt seemed hesitant to shoot in close. Maybe it was the good backcheck strategy; Pitt's was the most aggressive of anybody's. Or maybe they were just hesitant.
Reply Ark_Razor
2:59 PM on June 13, 2017 
Radatz says...
Especially that offside challenge. It may have been correct technically, but there was no need of it. We would have had a game 7.

But I think Pitt would have won it. A puck on the boards always had 2 Pens and 1 Pred on it. And the Pitt in-the-zone offense seemed way better structured. And, of course, there was the Pekka issue.

All the teams that played Pitt seemed hesitant to shoot in close. Maybe it was the good backcheck strategy; Pitt's was the most aggressive of anybody's. Or maybe they were just hesitant.


I don't believe the right call was made on the challenge. It was inconclusive IMHO. I would have been OK if offsides had been called at the outset though.

NAS was quicker to the puck, but as the series wore on, I agreed with you, especially Games 5 and 6 on working the corners and the walls.

Also, NAS PP came up terribly short. Fatal at this level against an experienced team.
Reply the immortal scurds
8:28 PM on June 13, 2017 
preds only chance was renne, and he couldnt stand on his head every night.
Reply Radatz
8:35 PM on June 13, 2017 
More like he couldn't stand on his feet most nights in the finals.