If you’re a fan of watching storylines change on a nightly basis and watching teams try and counter one another, this is a series for you. And yet it feels like when each of these teams plays its best, or the best it has in this series, they lose.
The Penguins probably played their best game of the Final last night. They figured out something that the Hawks only figured out far too late, the Blues simply aren’t capable of, and the Ducks are too stupid. They didn’t have any forwards fleeing the zone, coming deeper in the defensive zone on breakouts to try and relieve the pressure, and break up the ice as a five-man unit. It’s really the only way to deal with the Preds’ pressure. You have to be an outlet for the defense under their ridiculous forecheck and then you need options coming through the neutral zone with the Nashville d-men standing up at their line and the forwards closing in from behind.
The Penguins did it, caused the Preds more problems than they’d seen, and got the equalizer from Crosby after forcing the Preds into a shoddy line-change after sustained pressure.
But there’s a problem with that…