With a combined straight-up record of 19-4 when scoring first this postseason, the Pens and Preds know better than anyone just how important it’s to get on the board . Margins at a seven-game series are amazingly tight and the momentum obtained from scoring an icebreaker, particularly one on the street, could be a huge boost.
Nashville thought they had done that in Game 1 when P.K. Subban conquer Matt Murray with a wrister to briefly make the score 1-0 however, it was not to be. Mike Sullivan’s bet to challenge this Filip Forsberg had been offside earlier on the drama that Subban scored on paid off and the Preds’ target — and all of Nashville’s momentum — has been erased.
The Penguins went on to score the next three goals of the game to have a 3-0 lead and, eventually, the Game 1 win.
How massive was that win? Well, when you consider that since 2002 the home team is 9-1 up in Game 2 after winning Game 1, it becomes emphatically clear just how important that overturned goal could be to the results of this series.
Here are such Game 2 results:I’m not here to argue whether the play was offside — it probably was — I am just trying to paint a picture of how catastrophic that drama was to Nashville’s Stanley Cup hopes.
When the home team wins Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final, they go on to win it at about an 85% clip and even though I don’t believe the Preds are lifeless, the job they now face is a mountainous one that very few teams in the background of the NHL have managed to summit.
Offside testimonials are a novel idea but as we’ve seen over and over again in the almost endless examples across the major North American sports-scape because challenges and reviews were introduced, stopping action to see whether or not someone infracted a seemingly benign rule by an issue of millimetres can change a game’s momentum drastically and alter a team’s fortune for the worse.
As somebody who writes about, analyzes and stakes sports, Subban’s disallowed goal has left me with a sick feeling in my gut and I’m firmly in the camp that’s suggesting we make offside testimonials go the way of the FoxTrax glowing puck. Technological improvements are not always great for the game — or the viewer — which blue and red blunder by Fox was a very clear example of why that is true.
We’ll see exactly what the Preds are made of in Game 2 on Wednesday. If their play from the second stage on in Monday’s series opener is any indication, they’re more than up for the challenge and have a good shot to beat the odds and send this best-of-seven back into Smashville tied .
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