Predators just one NHL team winning thanks to its Swedes

by Leon Thompson May 26, 2017, 13:08
Predators just one NHL team winning thanks to its Swedes

Kunitz, relegated to the fourth line since returning from injury in the second round, picked up his first postseason goal in a calendar year when he completed a two-on-one with Conor Sheary - a healthy scratch in Games 5 and 6 - by slipping the puck by Anderson 9:55 into the second period.

"We all come from difference places and need to respect each other's opinions and so that's what we have been working on", Nicholl said. "I feel that definitely today is one of those games that he can be going in and make a contribution".

It was said that the Penguins could not and would not reach the Stanley Cup Final without Kris Letang, that the slew of injuries they incurred during the second half of the regular season would crush them. "We've got to give it to them".

The Sens, more broadly, became the kind of team Guy Boucher envisioned when he took over as head coach one year ago. While that bit of information has been circulating, no one (save for the Ottawa Sun) seems to be spending time pointing to the fact that the Senators have never won a Game 7.

Resilience was apparent in the group throughout the playoffs and again in Game 7 when they rallied twice to tie the Pens - 20 seconds after Kunitz opened the scoring and then again late in regulation. The Predators will play either Ottawa or Pittsburgh. "And we're not ideal some nights by any stretch, but this group of players has a will to win as a group more so than any other group I've been around".

"It is a great opportunity", said Crosby of heading back to the finals. And yet here they are on the doorstep to a title once again.

Kunitz scored twice, his first two goals of the playoffs.

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On Thursday night, he made sure it wasn't over just yet.

Or that, on the whole, they'd be entirely too exhausted, constantly hearing that teams coming off a long run the year before don't have enough left in the tank to do it again, let alone in a year that also featured worldwide competition. That meant a defence-first approach which often saw the Sens trying to win games 1-0 or 2-1. There have been several Game 7s for Pittsburgh in the interim on both sides of the ledger, though the Penguins are 2-0 in Game 7s under Sullivan.

The momentum lasted all of 20 seconds.

"These are the games, when you're a kid growing up, that you're playing in the backyard, the Game 7s and that", said 40-year-old Pittsburgh forward Matt Cullen, who could play in his final National Hockey League game on Thursday.

Kelly has yet to dress since the first round against Boston, but the 36-year-old forward does have 91 games of playoff experience.

As for idiosyncrasies, this will be the first NHL Final with two coaches from the United States. Schultz has been trending toward a return for several games, and Hornqvist was a full participant during the game-day skate on Thursday but stayed on long after most of his teammates exited the ice. The 25-year-old, a scratch at times previously in the playoffs, finished off a Karlsson blast that banged off the post.


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