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2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs: ECF Game 2 Recap Penguins 1 - Senators 0; WCF Game 3 Preview Predators vs Ducks

The Penguins respond, and for the first time ever, the Western Conference Final comes to Smashville.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

As the Conference Finals continue, we’ll give you a recap from last night’s game and what to look forward to in tonight’s action.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Ottawa Senators at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Eastern Conference Final Game 2

Pittsburgh Penguins 1 - Ottawa Senators 0
Series Tied 1-1

Remember that time I said to keep an eye out for high scoring games? Well...

The Penguins did just the opposite at home Monday night in a 1-0 win over the Senators. It wasn’t until the second half of the third period, when Phil Kessel took his own deflection of Jean-Gabriel Pageau and flung it past Craig Anderson, that the scoreboard showed anything but zeroes.

But that doesn’t mean the game wasn’t exciting. I mean, come on, it’s the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Ottawa had a number of scoring chances in its 23 shots on goal, most notably a guaranteed tap-in for Ryan Dzingel halfway through the second period, if not for the stick of Chris Kunitz. Kunitz didn’t even seem to be focused much on the puck, recognizing Dzingel’s location and doing his hardest to prevent a good shot if the puck found its way to him. The Penguins managed 29 shots on the night, though most of them were less exciting than the crowd would have you believe.

Still, partnered with a the great checking of their defensive units, it was enough to shake the Senators. If the frustration on the part of the Senators wasn’t apparent throughout the game, it sure was at the end, when Kyle Turris just went around two-handing and slashing multiple Penguins. The antics led to a game misconduct for both Turris and Evgeni Malkin, but only put a period on the game’s end result.

Maybe Game 3 on Wednesday will be high scoring? If not, just tune out my hopes of a 7-goal razing that I expect (read: would enjoy).

- Jake Crouse

Western Conference Final Game 3

Nashville Predators vs Anaheim Ducks
8:00 pm ET - Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
NBCSN and NBCSports app
Series Tied 1-1

Three Things To Watch

  1. A Bounce Back Performance from Rinne Sunday's five goals on 27 shots for the Ducks was the most any team has gotten past Pekka Rinne this postseason, but don't expect that to happen again. Despite that off performance, Rinne still leads all playoff goaltenders in goals against average, which is still well below two, and save percentage. He's been a premier goalie this postseason and one bad game likely won't derail him. That being said, Nashville's defense needs to tighten up and Rinne needs to return to form.
  2. Kesler vs. Johansen I outlined ahead of game one that the Ryan Kesler vs. Ryan Johansen matchup could be the difference in this series, but I don't think many people expected what has happened thus far. This classic two-way center vs. offensive center matchup has turned into a cheap shot-filled, protect your groin type of matchup with how Kesler has been playing Johansen. So far, the results haven't favored Kesler. Johansen has four points in the first two games of this series. Expect the physical play to continue and the post-game sound bites from both players to remain very juicy.
  3. Home Ice Advantage? If you weren't aware of how crazy things can get at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, you are now. The Predators have yet to lose on home ice this postseason (5-0). That building is dangerous to play in for opposing teams and the Preds seem to find another level in their play in front of that crowd. If Anaheim can find a way to win at least one of these next two, they're putting themselves in very good position going back home.

- Brett Finger