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Playoff Gameday: Stanley Cup Final Game 6

PITTSBURGH VS NASHVILLE

BRIDGESTONE ARENA – NASHVILLE, TN

8:00 PM EST. NBC

PENS LEAD 3-2

Game 6 shifts back to Nashville this evening and will feature a very special guest (no not Chris Gaines).

Lord Stanley will be in the building.

For many of us the parallels to 2009 come to mind almost immediately. A blowout in game 5, a 3-2 series lead, a home game coming for the team trailing in the series. In 2009, of course the Pens were on the other side of the fence from where they sit right now. Geno certainly remembers.

Nashville has been nothing short of superhuman at home, surrendering only an overtime loss in the Western Conference Finals to the Ducks on home ice so far these 2017 playoffs. The Pens have never clinched the Cup on home ice, but doing so in Nashville will be a different animal. The last few steps are always the darkest and most difficult.

The blowout in game 5 was great, but that’s in the rear-view mirror for both teams. Game 6 is sure to be a 3 hour attack for all of us – the Pens won’t have last change, the atmosphere will reek of fish, fried food, and bourbon. There are miles left to travel.

Luckily this team has traveled those miles before; the last two games have been their best of the series and Crosby has summoned a level we haven’t seen before, reaching full Hollywood Hogan status. Hell in game 5, the defense even looked stellar

I don’t know what tonight’s going to bring, but I know for the 2nd straight year my hockey team, our hockey team, is one win away from sports’ greatest prize. I plan on enjoying the hell out of that.

Lines: Pretty sure we’ve seen the last of Nick Bonino this series. Colin Wilson returned for the Preds and looked really good despite his teams performance in game 5.

The big injury to keep an eye on is Ryan Ellis. It sounds like he’s planning on giving it a go in game 5, but without him the vaunted Preds D is suddenly pedestrian past the 1st pair. That little match-up advantage would be big for the black and gold.

Pittsburgh:

Guentzel-Crosby-Sheary

Kunitz-Malkin-Kessel

Rust-Rowney-Hagelin

Wilson-Cullen-Hornqvist

Dumoulin-Hainsey

Maatta-Daley

Cole-Schultz

Murray-Fleury

Nashville:

Forsberg-Sissons-Aberg

Arvidsson-Fisher-Neal

Wilson-Jarnkrok-Smith

Parenteau-Gaudreau-Watson

Ekholm-Subban

Josi-Ellis

Irwin-Weber

Rinne-Saros

No one has done what the Pens will set out to do tonight since 1998. In all of the grandstanding and hoopla, I think that it’s important to take a second to appreciate how much this team has accomplished in the last two years.

Okay, the second is over…The Pens are ONE FUCKING WIN AWAY. Just the thought of hoisting that cup on the ice, in Nashville, while Keith Urban cheers the Pens on because he’s got literally no fucking clue what’s actually happening is enough to bring me into a cold sweat.

They will walk into Bridgestone wearing the strap with the confidence of a champion that knows what lies ahead. A smart man once said, “If you come for the king, you best not miss.” Nashville thought the Pens were dead and buried, but a 6 haymakers later the feeling has changed and tonight we find out if the challenger can fight back off the ropes.

The Stanley Cup is within reach for the Pittsburgh Penguins, only 60 minutes away from a modern day dynasty.

Fuck the haters. The Pens have climbed, and scratched, and clawed their way back to the top of this god forsaken mountain. Now it’s time to plant the flag

Bring it home. Go Pens.

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