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Bizarre Finals Opener

Posted by Radatz on May 29, 2017 at 11:25 PM

I hate finals. The pregame crap is impossible. The schedule is inanely stretched out. When will the NHL figure out that the games are what people long for, not ceremonial phoniness. And with that for a preamble, off we go into maybe the first Cup final coached by two guys from Massachusetts. Outside of Franklin and Marshfield, no one here cares anyway.

The first period didn't do the NHL any more good than the pregame fluff. Nashville looked good early, good enough to score the first goal in fact. But it was wiped off the scoreboard by the perfect argument against offside replay --- a thoroughly microscopic offside that an eagle never would have seen. Then somehow, on the first penalty of the game, Nashville managed to draw two of them at once. Again not exactly a good look. Malkin scored following what seemed interference (uncalled) and the league had what it wanted, or so it must have seemed everywhere outside the stadium. It seemed to deflate the Predators, who piled insult on injury by watching Pitt score twice more in the last 5 minutes. Rinne didn't seem to know how to react to a team that improvises its plays at top speed and doesn't hesitate or overpass. Nashville seemed stunned at being checked all over the ice, despite leading in shots 11-8. The league must have been wringing its hands at the waveoff and the dual minors. Home blowouts don't lead to 7-game series.

The second period saw Pittsburgh go into its Devils routine and why not? But when the period was over they had 0 shots on goal while holding Nashville to 9. The lead had shrunk to 3-1, though it could have been worse. So was Pittsburgh sitting on a lead, or had Nashville figured them out? Did the catfish on the ice fire them up? Was Pitt saving its energy for a blowout 3rd? However it was, only the third period would tell the story.

The 3rd period looked like more of the 2nd. Half the period passed when Nashville made it 3-2, then immediately had to kill a delay on Subban. They did, and 3 seconds later tied the game. Things were looking different, but Pittsburgh got in deep and scored at 16:43 to take the lead. Rinne was pulled but all that produced was an ENG. And that was that.

Summary: Pitt was outshot 26-12, but seemed able to generate more coherent zone play than Nashville for most of the game. The washed off goal was immense. Rinne looked vastly overrated by his conference and shell-shocked by eastern gunners. If Nashville manages to make it a series, it won't be due to heroics by Rinne. 4 goals in 11 shots, even 11 good shots, isn't what stopper goalies do. Despite Pitt's strong checking and zone play, you couldn't have asked for more from the defense. 11 real shots, minus the ENG?

Categories: NHL Blogs

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