Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Land in Extremely Familiar Spot

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Penguins Land in Extremely Familiar Spot

Article excerpt

It's off by a day.

Last year at this time, the Penguins held a 2-0 series lead and flew to a non-traditional hockey market where the home team would be playing host to its first Stanley Cup final game.

The Penguins dropped Game 3 to the San Jose Sharks last year, 3-2, in overtime on June 4, 2016. They're hoping for a different result this time.

"We definitely wanted to take care of business here on home ice," goalie Matt Murray said after the 4-1 Penguins victory Wednesday night in Game 2. "We know it's going to be a challenge in Nashville. They have a pretty good home record. They come out really hard in that building."

The coincidence is not hard to detect, but having that as an experience to draw on could be beneficial. For years, the Penguins struggled in SAP Center - or the Shark Tank.

Bridgestone Arena hasn't been a easy place for teams to play, either. The Predators went 24-9-8 at home in the regular season and have won seven of eight postseason games there. But this isn't so much about dealing with a raucous crowd or flying catfish as it is about avoiding complacency and keeping their collective foot on the gas.

"They love playing at home," center Evgeni Malkin said. "Big crowd. We need to play smart. . I think next game is very important."It's not over. We understand that Nashville is a great team. Stay positive. Have fun. Enjoy it every day."

"It's not over. We understand that Nashville is a great team. Stay positive. Have fun. Enjoy it every day."

A key for the Penguins stretching their series lead to 3-0 will be creating more sustained pressure. The Penguins have scored nine goals in two games, but six have come within spurts of 3:18 (Game 2) and 4:11 (Game 1).

Opportunistic? Yes. Sustainable? Probably not.

"We've been pretty fortunate to be on the right side of two wins," winger Chris Kunitz said. "But we have more in our game and another level to get to."

Kunitz also said the Penguins need to play "the dullest road game of the season. …

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