After a thrilling 3-2 Game 7 win over Ottawa, the Pittsburgh Penguins are back in the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in as many seasons. They will face Nashville, which is in uncharted territory – and has been since the conference finals.
Will experience plat a factor in the Stanley Cup?
“I think experience really comes into play maybe later on in the series, but right now, you look at Nashville and I don’t think experience has anything to dow with this series,” former NHL player and current FS Arizona and NHL Network analyst Tyson Nash said on CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “In fact, for the Pittsburgh Penguins, they’ve got a lot of experience right now in this playoffs. They’ve been to two Game 7s. What kind of toll does that take on your body?”
A lot. But have no fear, Penguins fans. Sid the Kid is at your services.
“When you have the best player in the world, the best big-game player in the world, in Sidney Crosby – you saw the difference-maker he was tonight,” Nash said. “He was all over it tonight. All over it last game as well. If not for Craig Anderson, it would have been another blowout and Sidney Crosby would have been a big part of it.”
Crosby, who finished second in the NHL in points this season, assisted on Chris Kunitz’s double-overtime goal Thursday. The Penguins will need both Crosby and Kunitz in top form against Nashville.
“It’s going to be a great series,” Nash said. “(Nashville is) a very different team than (the Penguins) faced in Ottawa. You look at their back end, you look at their goaltending – it’s going to be tough to beat Pekka Rinne.”
Rinne has allowed a playoff-best 1.70 goals per game.
“It’s going to be a good series,” Nash said. “It’s going to be fast-paced, hard-hitting. I think we’ve been getting used to that type of hockey. I don’t think this (series) is going to be any different.”
If it can surpass – or equal – the drama and excitement of Pittsburgh’s Game 7 win over Ottawa, the NHL will be happy. So will its fans.
“It was such great hockey,” Nash said of Game 7. “(It was) the best hockey I’ve seen in years.”
Game 1 is Monday in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. ET.