NHL Week in Review (June 4-10)

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The Stanley Cup Finals are following an interesting pattern and one that has not necessarily been seen throughout the rest of the playoffs.

These playoffs have not really inspired the usual confidence in the home-ice advantage as many series saw home-ice mean nothing.

It was a real mix of teams winning at home and losing at home leaving plenty of people wondering just how important home-ice can be in the playoffs.

If a team is just better overall, where they play will not matter as they will get the win thanks to their talent.

The environment can only do so much for a team and in general, these playoffs have proven that the environment at home for a number of teams meant nothing.

As the Stanley Cup Finals started, home-ice wasn’t part of the conversation as it was simply about the performance of teams.

With the playoffs going the way they were it wasn’t entirely expected that home-ice was going to play a big factor in the series.

Instead, it was going to be about the offence of the Penguins and the defence of the Predators with only one coming out on top.

The first two games, in Pittsburgh, seemed to be a pretty good indication of how the series was going to play out.

The Predators defence stood up in a massive way but they couldn’t produce on offence and eventually, the Penguins broke through.

It didn’t help that the Preds were seeing their linchpin, Pekka Rinne, fall apart with so few shots against while allowing more goals.

It didn’t seem pretty and the Penguins were expected to dominant throughout the series as the Nashville defence didn’t have an answer and Rinne was no longer the difference.

Then the series went to Nashville and Rinne all of a sudden woke up to have a spectacular performance in Game 3 and 4.

It looked like the Predators were back as they had some great performances in Nashville looking like they were going to turn things around.

It became a series quickly after those two games and with Rinne back in the proper form, things were going to get tougher for Pittsburgh to put things away.

The series went back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 and a good game was expected as things were right again for the Predators.hockey-sidebar

Then the Pens put up 6 goals against the Predators, chasing Rinne early after three goals on nine shots in the first period.

All of a sudden things looked a lot different as the Predators were simply not there for Game 5 losing 6-0 and now facing elimination.

It is as if there are two entirely different Predators teams and the difference seems to be coming depending on the city they are in.

Nashville struggled a bit in the first two games and a lot in Game 5 when they played in Pittsburgh in front of the Pittsburgh fans.

When they are at home in Nashville they seem to be the team that can win a Stanley Cup and they have been all playoffs.

They have only lost one game at home the entire postseason in an impressive performance at home.

When watching games from Nashville there might be something to that home-ice as the energy in the building is unlike anywhere else.

There is constant noise and amazing cheers from the crowd with a different type of environment that in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh fans are great but the energy in the Bridgestone Arena is something else this year.

That seems to be making a big difference for the Predators as they seem like a different team when they play at home.

As the series heads back to Nashville for Game 6 that will be tested more than ever before as they need this win.

If they can’t get that extra boost from the crowd and look like the team that made it to the Stanley Cup they won’t have any more games to play.

If they can come back and take the win they will force a Game 7 and then have to shake off whatever is keeping them from performing in Pittsburgh.

It is the only way they can take home their first Stanley Cup as their away game needs to improve if they want to lift the Cup.

First thing’s first though, they need to return to their old ways when they return to Nashville and extend this series.

If they can do that the series will be defined by home-ice advantage heading into the seventh game in Pittsburgh.

 

Overtime

Calgary Losing their Team?

This week Brian Burke made some headlines when he announced that the Calgary Flames will consider moving if they don’t get a new stadium. The comment came after years of trying to get a new stadium with the city refusing to put any public money into a new arena. After the comments, Flames’ CEO Ken King released a statement claiming that it was not the case and that they are committed to staying in Calgary and continuing to try to get a new arena.

Another Failed Evaluation

Last week the NHL Combine took place and for the second year in a row, the evaluation tools came under fire. That is partially because of Casey Mittlestadt’s failed attempt at doing a single pull-up during his testing. The problem is that he is not the first as Sam Bennett did the same last year and turned out to be a pretty good player for Calgary making the pull-up test, not the best for determining skill.

The Future in Philly

 The Philadelphia Flyers assured their future with the signing of Shayne Gostisbehere to a multi-year contract extension. The extension is a big thing for the team as he has been one of the bright spots on the roster and seems like the leader for the future of this team. He will now stick in Philly for the next six years.

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