NHL playoffs 2017: Chris Kunitz ends epic Game 7 in double OT, sends Penguins back to Cup Final

Four months since his last goal, Chris Kunitz scored twice, including 5:09 into double overtime, to send the Penguins back to the Stanley Cup Final for a second straight year with a 3-2 win in Thursday’s epic double-overtime win against the Senators.

In an Eastern Conference finals that tested every ounce of winning will remaining in the defending champions, it’s especially fitting Kunitz, the 37-year-old veteran, did the honors.

And somehow, some way, the Penguins, injured and exhausted, having played more games in two years than any other NHL team, found a way to edge the never-say-die Sens in their 207th game since the start of the 2015-16 season. They’re the first to make back-to-back trips since the Red Wings in 2007-09.

Pittsburgh led by a goal on two occasions in Game 7, first thanks to Kunitz in the second period and again when Justin Schultz scored on a power play with just under nine minutes remaining in regulation that figured to be the decider.

In the second period, when Nashville won the shot battle 11-0, Pittsburgh became the first team to go without a shot on goal in a Cup Final period since the NHL started tracking shots in 1957-58. The Pens’ 12 total shots, a franchise record low, were the fewest by a winning team in Final history.

Pittsburgh got its 3-0 lead thanks to three goals in the final 4:28 of the first period. Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary and Bonino did the honors.

Eventually a catfish found its way to the ice, despite Pittsburgh’s fishy ban. That led to Ryan Ellis’ fifth goal of the playoffs moments later and Colton Sissons made it 3-2 10:06 into the third period before Gaudreau evened the ledger.

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Stanley Cup playoffs three stars: Predators reach first West finals; Oilers force Game 7

Pekka Rinne wore a permanent ear-to-ear grin when asked to contextualize the Predators’ unlikely playoff run 18 years in the making.

Rinne’s Nashville roots run deep. He was drafted in 2004, a gem unearthed in the eighth round when such a thing was still in practice. In that sense, the hulking goaltender is Predators personified and was understandably beaming when, in his 566th NHL game, he finally led the franchise to its first berth in the Western Conference finals.

It means everything right now, Rinne told reporters following a 3-1 victory to oust the Blues in six games. Obviously, we haven’t gone further than this before. It’s a great feeling, but there’s also a lot of work left. After this round, there’s only four teams, and we all know that we have what it takes and everything is in our hands. … This is why you play this game. I’m happy.

It’s safe to assume Crosby and Subban didn’t get together for a pregame Primanti Brothers sandwich to celebrate National Best Friend Day.

The two got into a wrestling match toward the end of the first period. It all started when Crosby gave Subban a whack in the back with his stick while Subban navigated toward the Pittsburgh net. The two fell and Crosby pinned Subban down, repeatedly bashing his head into the ice. Subban wasn’t a saint either, though, as he placed Crosby into a headlock as the two rose to their feet. The ordeal resulted in two-minute holding minors for both men, who headed for the locker room with 1:32 remaining in the period.

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We’re thrilled to have him join us

He’s built championship teams and organizations and has managed stadiums, ballparks and arenas across the United States. Most importantly, he previously worked in our market and has the necessary corporate and political relationships to help us secure a long-term home for the Coyotes in the Valley. We’re thrilled to have him join us.

The Coyotes have used Gila River Arena in Glendale as their home stadium since 2003, but the team has recently been at odds with local politicians, who convinced the city to cancel its arena management deal with the Coyotes in 2015. That ended all public subsidies the team was receiving. The franchise has since said it is no longer financially viable to play at the arena due to its inconvenient proximity to the majority of its fans and sponsors.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in March the Coyotes must have a new arena location to succeed and cannot and will not remain in Glendale.

Less then a month before Bettman’s statement, an Arizona Senate committee passed a Senate Bill 1149 that would help provide funding to build the Coyotes a new $395 million arena. That bill, however, was essentially declared dead in late April. That is where Patterson, and his local connections, come in.

Joshua Norris (No. 19 overall, SJS): His father, Dwayne, was drafted 127th overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1990 NHL Draft and appeared in 20 games with the Nordiques and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim from 1993 to ’96.

Pierre-Olivier Joseph (No. 23 overall, ARI): His brother, Mathieu, is a forward who was selected 120th overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 NHL Draft and competed at the 2017 Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL.

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The offensive outburst helped bail out goalie John Gibson

Jakob Silfverberg scored his ninth goal of the playoffs 39 seconds into the second period, erasing the 2-0 lead Nashville had built early in the first period. Filip Forsberg took it back seven minutes later, but Anaheim broke through thanks to a goal by Ondrej Kase and another from Nick Ritchie to take a 4-3 lead into the third period.

Antoine Vermette’s empty netter, his first goal of the playoffs, gave the Ducks their third game of five or more goals in the playoffs.

What’s more, Anaheim solved its woes on the man advantage when Sami Vatanen scored on the power play in the first period. The power-play unit had gone without a goal in its last 21 opportunities, an ominous drought for a Stanley Cup semifinalist.

The offensive outburst helped bail out goalie John Gibson, whose inconsistency streak reared its ugly head when the Predators scored three goals on their first 13 shots. But Gibson buckled down in the second and third periods.

The Caps’ goal explosion came courtesy of stars like T.J. Oshie, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, who had been criticized at times for playing short of their typically high standards. All combined for multi-point efforts and Andre Burakovsky chipped in a pair of goals to send the series back to the nation’s capital.

Of course, merely making it to a Game 7 won’t be good enough for the Capitals. The Presidents’ Trophy winners need to win it if they’re to put to rest the playoff choker label that’s consumed the franchise.

A win Wednesday and Washington would become the first team since 2010 to erase a 3-1 series deficit and advance.

The Penguins have won all three of their previous Game 7 meetings against the Caps, including in 2009, when they rode that victory to a Stanley Cup.

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NHL Expansion Draft: Vegas chants for Marc-Andre Fleury as Penguins bid farewell

If the Vegas Golden Knights were to uncover a franchise face among 30 other teams, the obvious choice was Marc-Andre Fleury.

Toward the end of the NHL’s awards show and expansion draft Wednesday, it was the now-former Penguins goaltender who drew the largest ovation from the crowd at T Mobile Arena when his name was announced as Vegas’ 29th pick of the evening.

Indeed, Fleury, long beloved by fans in Pittsburgh, instantly becomes the Knights’ most marketable player as the franchise set out to fill seats in a brand new market.

That much was evident by the reception.

One fan screamed, I love you! Fleury, doing an interview, stopped mid-sentence and responded, I love you too!

I’m not looking to be the face of much, he told reporters after the fanfare settled. I didn’t expect the ovation. It was so crazy. We’re really excited to get this started.

Kariya appeared in a promotional video for the Ducks last season. He said Monday the headaches stopped a year after his playing career ended, adding, I feel really good. These days he surfs three to four days a week and enjoys skiing and snowboarding in the winter months.

This is fine for Gaudreau.

After rocky negotiations with the Canadiens, Radulov became enchanted with the Stars, in part by their substantial contract commitment and in part by the roster they’ve been improving before his signing.

Instead, the uncertainty surrounding Crosby, named a Hart Trophy finalist earlier Monday, only adds to injury woes that the Penguins have managed thus far.

The Capitals were 1-5 all time while trailing 2-0 in a playoff series before Monday and improved to 9-19 in Pittsburgh during the playoffs.

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Stanley Cup Final three stars: Predators find their groove in Music City

Between an Alan Jackson concert outside and tens of thousands who packed Bridgestone Arena and the honky tonks up and down Broadway, it was clear long before the puck dropped on Saturday’s Stanley Cup Final Game 3 that the rest of the NHL had never seen hockey quite like this.

It turned out to be just what was needed for the Predators to claw their way back into the series.

Two unfortunate losses in Pittsburgh behind them, the Predators returned to their country confines a rejuvenated bunch and punched back on the Penguins for a decisive 5-1 victory.

There was no telling how the Music City’s first-ever Cup Final game would go over.

Craig Smith’s clean breakaway 4:54 into the third period to give the Preds a 4-1 lead was the dagger.

As good as the Predators offense was Saturday, their defense was even better. Penguins stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were each held without a shot in a playoff game for the first time ever.

Based off production alone, Niederreiter continues to make the case that he’s ready for a more prominent role. He’s coming off his third straight season scoring 20 or more goals. His ice time though in Minnesota has plateaued: He actually saw a decrease in average time on ice this past season, down to 15:04 per-game from 15:33.

Niederreier was third on the Wild with 25 goals and fourth with 57 points. He’s got his sights set on an even bigger offensive performance though, and knows there will be expectations that come with a long-term, big-dollar extension.

My big goal is to get 30 (goals) in this league, he said. For that I have to work hard, and help my game, and shoot more pucks to the net.

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Fans packed Bridgestone Arena an hour before puck drop.

Now, with the contract behind him, Zibanejad must live up to the investment the Rangers made in him. With Derek Stepan, the de-facto top-line center for many years on Broadway, traded to the Coyotes earlier this off-season, Zibanejad will consistently face other team’s top lines and defense pairs, while receiving more ice-time, more responsibility at even-strength, power play and penalty kill, and with higher expectations to produce offensively, while proving capable of playing well defensively.

“I always want to improve, always want to evolve, take my game to the next level, that’s what I am working on,” Zibanejad told reporters on a conference call. “Even before signing, seeing Derek being traded was a little bit of an alert to me that I might get a chance to play a bigger role. As a player, you always want more responsibility…I am am super pumped.”

Acquired from the Senators last summer in a trade for Derick Brassard, Zibanejad suffered a broken leg which derailed his first season with the Rangers. However, he scored 14 goals and 37 points in 56 regular season games before stepping up to the lead the team with nine points in 12 playoff contests.

Fans packed Bridgestone Arena an hour before puck drop. They stood during warm-ups and chanted “Pekka! Pekka!” in support of their beleaguered goalie. When Jake Guentzel scored 2:42 into the game, a soft goal that could have rattled Rinne’s already fragile psyche, fans were back on their feet at the next commercial break for a boost.

Their chants, choreographed like a Premier League match, took aim at the Penguins from the introduction.

At the announcement of each players’ name, fans yell “SUCKS!” in perfect Green Bay Packer Cheap Jerseys harmony. Following a Predators goal, they’re quick to inform opposing goalie Matt Murray “IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!”

“I’ve said before, it’s a little bit similar to European soccer match Jerseys Supply where everybody is on the same page and knows exactly what to do and when to do it.”

Stars land Radulov, but Dallas GM says big summer ‘doesn’t guarantee anything’

You can’t win the Stanley Cup during the summer. However, you can help build a playoff contender during the offseason.

Stars general manager Jim Nill is banking on this old hockey adage, hoping a series of bold moves this summer vaults his club back into contention next season.

On Monday, Nill and the Stars landed arguably the most coveted forward on the free agent market, signing right wing Alexander Radulov to a five-year, $31.25 million contract. Radulov’s addition follows those of goaltender Ben Bishop, defenseman Marc Methot and center Martin Hanzal, all of whom were acquired in trades or signed as free agents by Dallas this summer, not to mention the hiring of head coach Ken Hitchcock.

“We’re excited about these moves, but we’re going to work now. It doesn’t guarantee anything,” Nill said on a conference call with reporters Monday. “We like what we have on paper, but in the end the goal for us is to be a contender every year, get in the playoffs every year. We’ve put ourselves in a good position, but we still have to go out and do it.”

Spoken like a man whose team finished out of the playoffs with the sixth-worst record in the NHL last year despite having star players like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza on its roster. In fact, the Stars missed the playoffs two of the past three seasons and in seven of the last nine Direct Cheap Jerseys even China Cheap Jerseys with some decent talent, so the GM’s take-nothing-for-granted attitude is to be expected.

Spurs’ Gregg Popovich unloads on Donald Trump

Gregg Popovich didn’t hold anything back Saturday when asked about President Donald Trump.

The Spurs coach praised those who marched on Washington in protest of Trump’s presidency and said Trump’s personality is worrisome.

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Westbrook has used this move before in order to draw a foul, but he didn’t get the call this time, as it was clear he initiated all of the contact.

The Clippers called timeout after gaining possession of the ball. Paul was not happy to leave the game, kicking a chair on his way to the locker room.

Paul left the floor much in the same fashion after breaking his hand in the Clippers’ first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers. The good news for Los Angeles is Paul’s thumb isn’t broken, though the full extent of the damage remains unclear.

Any time with Paul on the bench would be a huge problem for the Clippers. Paul is having another sensational season, averaging 17.7 points, 9.8 assists and 5.4 rebounds with the highest effective field goal percentage of his career (54.7). The Clippers are already without Blake Griffin. They can’t afford to lose their No. 1 player and leader for an extended period.

To that end, the Bulls nearly traded Butler just ahead of the draft. Boston had the No. 3 pick, and Minnesota had No. 5. Both teams had interest in Butler, who had not been an easy personality for Hoiberg to manage. That came to the fore in December 2015, when Nike Cheap Jerseys Butler criticized Hoiberg for being too soft on the team. While Butler later said he would “make it work” with Hoiberg, the veterans in Chicago were never New England Patriots Cheap Jerseys truly on board with Hoiberg.

LeBron James doesn’t view Warriors as Cavs’ rival

Don’t ask LeBron James if he’s ready for a rivalry clash Monday against the Warriors. He doesn’t believe they exist in the NBA.

Even though the two teams have faced off and split the last two championships, James feels like the Cavs and Warriors are just two great teams co-existing.

“I don’t think we have a rival in our game today,” James said after Cavs practice Sunday, via ESPN.com. “We’ve had two great Finals appearances the last two years, but I had the same with San Antonio when I was in Miami. We weren’t rivals. And I think I played those guys more, so I wouldn’t look at it as rivals.”

James has heaped praise on the Warriors in recent seasons as the two squads battled for supremacy. James paid them the ultimate compliment Sunday to sum up his feelings.

Rose has been inconsistent this season for a team that dropped to 17-21 with what, indeed, was a humiliating home loss to the Pelicans.

Acquired in the offseason from the Bulls, Rose, 28, is averaging 17.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.9 rebounds in 33 games this season.

Also, we didn’t appreciate the shot at “Air Bud” but … can’t really defend it.

Anyway, we’ll end this with the woke-est line in the trailer, which had literally never occurred to me until watching it.

“The movie doesn’t even take place in space.” Golden State has been playing better than Cleveland recently, as the defending champions are still struggling Patriots Cheap Jerseys to find their footing with key players shuffling in and out of the lineup.

The Cavaliers should be healthy Monday night, but it will still Soccer Cheap Jerseys be tough walking out of Oracle Arena with a win.