Despite looking exhausted and overmatched at times in the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins have persevered and made the big play time and again to grab a 3-2 series lead heading into Sunday’s Game 6.
One more win and they become the first team to capture consecutive Cups since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings.
“I can’t say enough for this group of players,” said Sullivan. “I’ve said on a number of occasions they are a privilege to coach, and I sincerely mean that. They understand that we haven’t accomplished anything to this point and that there’s one more game that we have to go out and earn, and I believe that this group has the will and the character to do so.”
None measure up individually to Karlsson, the two-time Norris Trophy winner who near single-handedly willed the Senators to within one win of a Final berth against a common opponent in the Penguins. But together there’s no unit in the NHL more formidable, allowing just 1.81 goals and 29.7 shots per game in the postseason.
Among the casualties: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews (two points apiece); Vladimir Tarasenko (three points); Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler (five points).
Karlsson posed such a unique problem for the Penguins (and every other team, for that matter) because of his skating prowess and ability to change a game.
To Malkin’s point, that’s the greatest strength of the Predators’ stingy, relentless quartet — and a most pressing issue for a Penguins team that’s been reliant on its impressive scoring ability, averaging Knock Off Cheap Jerseys a league-best 3.05 goals per game in the playoffs. The four have been horses, deployed generously by Lebron James Cheap Jerseys coach Peter Laviolette. All are averaging more than 24 minutes per game — a strategy in stark comparison to Pittsburgh, which has resorted to defense by committee in the absence of injured minutes-eater Kris Letang.