Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Guentzel, Penguins Go Up Two Games to None

Jake Guentzel (Nebraska-Omaha) scored his second and third goals of the series, and Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) again had two assists as the Pittsburgh Penguins routed the Nashville Predators, 4-1, on Wednesday night in Game Two of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.
Guentzel's goal off a long rebound came 10 seconds into the third period, and also broke a 1-1 tie while keying a three-goal third period for the host Penguins. Guentzel, who now has a record 12 goals in the playoffs by an NHL rookie from the United States, also notched the game-winner Monday in Pittsburgh's 5-3 triumph.

Bryan Rust (Notre Dame) and Ron Hainsey (UMass Lowell) assisted on Guentzel's game-winner Wednesday, before Scott Wilson (UMass Lowell) scored to put Pittsburgh up, 3-1. A fifth Penguins goal was called back on an offside infraction. Conor Sheary (Massachusetts) and Phil Kessel (Minnesota) also had third-period assists as the Penguins took a 2-0 series lead despite being outshot, 38-27, for the second straight contest.

Game Three is set for Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Penguins Escape Game One, 5-3

Jake Guentzel (Nebraska-Omaha) scored with 3:17 remaining in regulation on Monday night as the Pittsburgh Penguins outlasted the visiting Nashville Predators, 5-3, in Game One of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

Guentzel's goal was Pittsburgh's first shot on net in more than 30 minutes, after the Penguins had built a 3-0 lead in the first period. Nashville then battled back to tie with two third-period scores before Guentzel's heroics. A game-opening goal by Nashville was elminated by an offside infraction.

Nick Bonino (Boston University) had two goals for the Pens, including an empty-net tally in the final minute of regulation. Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) had two assists for Pittsburgh, which was outshot, 26-12.

Game Two of the NHL championship will be held on Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena in Pennsylvania.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Penguins to Meet Predators in Stanley Cup Final

Chris Kunitz (Ferris State) scored his second goal of the game 5:09 into the second overtime to lift the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators. Defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh will now host the Nashville on Monday at PPG Paints Arena in game One of the 2017 Stanley Cup final.

Conor Sheary (Massachusetts) set up Kunitz for the game’s opening goal in the second period, before Ottawa came back to tie it just 20 seconds later. Justin Schultz wristed home a power-play goal midway through the third period off assists from Kunitz and Phil Kessel (Minnesota) to put the Penguins up, 2-1, but Ryan Dzingel (Ohio State) knotted it for the Senators with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

Kunitz slapped a pass home in double OT to send the Penguins back to the final for the second straight season, almost a year after Pittsburgh defeated San Jose in six games to win its first NHL championship since 2009 and fourth overall. Schultz drew the second assist on the winning goal.

The Penguins outshot the Senators on Thursday, 42-29 and scored on their only power-play opportunity.  Ottawa, which went scoreless on two man-advantage opportunities, was seeking is first Stanley Cup Final berth since 2007, when it lost to Anaheim in five games.

Monday, May 22, 2017

NCAA Line Powers Penguins To Game Five Win

The Pittsburgh Penguins “NCAA Line” combined for seven points in a 7-0 rout of the Ottawa Senators on Sunday in Game Five of the NHL’s Eastern Conference Final. Pittsburgh now leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two.

Bryan Rust (Notre Dame), Nick Bonino (Boston University) and Carter Rowney (North Dakota) united for a goal and six assists on Sunday, with Rust’s goal giving Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead with just over four minutes remaining in the first period. Scott Wilson (UMass Lowell) scored the Penguins’ fourth goal just two minutes later, on assists from Rowney and Bonino. Phil Kessel (Minnesota) tallied Pittsburgh’s sixth goal of the game in the third period.

Defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh can advance to its second straight Stanley Cup Final with a win in Game 6 in Ottawa on Tuesday night. The two teams split Games Three and Four at Canadian Tire Centre last week, with Ottawa winning the first contest and Pittsburgh the second.

Sweden Wins 2017 World Championship

Sweden edged Canada, 2-1, in a shootout on Sunday in the gold medal game of the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany. Sweden outscored Canada, two to none, in the extra session at Lanxess Arena to win its first World Championship gold since 2013. 

Canada was seeking its third straight World Championship. Former NCAA members of this year’s silver medal-winning Canadian squad included Alex Killorn (Harvard) of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Michael Matheson (Boston College) of the Florida Panthers, and Colton Parayko (Alaska Fairbanks) of the St. Louis Blues.

Russia won this year’s bronze medal, with a 5-3 victory over Finland. Next year’s World Championship will be contested in Denmark for the first time.

Friday, May 19, 2017

U.S. Eliminated from World Championships

The U.S. Men's National Hockey Team was eliminated from medal consideration with a 2-0 loss to Finland on Thursday in a quarterfinal-round game at the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany. The loss also ended a six-game winning streak for the Americans, following a 2-1 tournament-opening defeat to host Germany earlier this month.

Jimmy Howard (Maine) of the Detroit Red Wings made 18 saves in the loss to Finland, which moved on to play Sweden in a semifinal game on Saturday. The other semifinal will pit Canada against Russia, the latter a team the U.S. beat by a 5-3 count earlier this week in round-robin play.

Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) of the Calgary Flames led Team USA in scoring with six goals and five assists for 11 points in eight contests. The U.S. last medaled in the World Championships in 2015, when it won bronze in the Czech Republic, two years after doing the same in Finland/Sweden.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Both NHL Conference Finals Now Tied

Phil Kessel (Minnesota) scored off his own rebound with 6:55 remaining in regulation Tuesday as the Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the visiting Ottawa Senators, 1-0. Game Three of the NHL Eastern Conference Final, which is now tied at a game apiece, will be played on Wednesday in Ottawa.

Elsewhere in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Nashville Predators will host the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday in the NHL Western Conference Final that is also tied at one game apiece. Anaheim tied the series at home on Sunday with a 5-3 victory, as Ryan Kesler (Ohio State) posted one assist.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

And Then There Were Four ...

Drake Caggiula (North Dakota) scored the game-opening goal and Cam Talbot (Alabama-Huntsville) made 26 saves, but the Edmonton Oilers' first Stanley Cup Playoff run in 11 years came to a close with a 2-1 loss in Game 7 at Anaheim on Wednesday. Andrew Cogliano (Michigan) scored one of the two goals for the Ducks, who advance to the NHL conference finals for the second time in three years.

In Washington, Bryan Rust (Notre Dame) broke a scoreless tie in the second period as the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Washington Capitals, 2-0, in Game 7 Wednesday. Jake Guentzel (Nebraska-Omaha) and Justin Schultz (Wisconsin) had assists on the night for the defending champion Pens, who had lost the previous two games of the series.

Anaheim will now meet the Nashville Predators in the Western Conference Final beginning Friday in California, while Pittsburgh will host the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final starting Saturday in Pennsylvania.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gaudreau Powers U.S. to Win Over Sweden

Johnny Gaudreau (Boston College) of the NHL's Calgary Flames scored two goals and was named the American player of the game as the U.S. Men's National Team edged Sweden, 4-3, before a crowd of 18,398 in a preliminary-round contest at the 2017 IIHF World Championship in Cologne, Germany.

J.T. Compher (Michigan) of the Colorado Avalanche tallied the game-winning goal in the third period for the U.S., which outshot Sweden by a 39-23 margin and rebounded from three one-goal deficits. Jack Eichel (Boston University) of the Buffalo Sabres registered two assists while Clayton Keller (Boston University) scored the other U.S. goal, and Jimmy Howard (Maine) of the Detroit Red Wings made 20 saves for the Americans.

The win improved Team USA's record in the annual tournament to 2-1-0, including an earlier 2-1 loss to Germany followed by a 7-2 win over Denmark. The U.S. will next face Italy on Wednesday at Lanxess Arena.