Goddamn look at those Preds go, eh? Slaying one dragon after another like it’s no big deal. It’s all leading up to P.K. Subban bringing the Stanley Cup to the children’s hospital in Montreal this summer in a bright yellow Predator jersey instead of the Habs bleu, blanc, and rouge.
There were certainly times during the past eight months this didn’t seem possible. The Preds lost one of their best prospects in Jimmy Vesey to the New York Rangers via free agency before the season even started. Then they began the season going 3-5-3. From Thanksgiving through the beginning of the New Year they were also a pedestrian 7-9-4. At that point the newly acquired Subban had yet to really find a groove with his new team, picking up just 18 points and a minus-9 along the way. Meanwhile his trade partner Shea Weber was dominant up in Montreal with his 10 goals, 26 points, and a plus-17.
But the Preds pressed along through a slightly better than average season, doing just enough to grab a playoff spot with their second straight 4th place finish in the always brutal Central Division.
And then they caught fire.
Right out of the post season gate their 94-point fourth-seed team swept the perennial Cup contending Goliath, the 109-point first-seed Chicago Blackhawks. Next the Preds handled the St. Louis Blues in routine fashion, eliminating them in six games. And last night they pounced on brutal goaltending, while being outshot 41-16 by the Ducks, to grab a 6-3 Game 6 win. Now the Preds, who had less regular season points than the Boston Bruins, are headed to a franchise first Stanley Cup Final.
So buckle up. It’s about to get wild in Nashville. And if you’re not a fan you may want to invest in some earplugs because the nonstop Cup Final narrative won’t be a about Pekka Rinne’s ridiculous .940 save percentage and 1.70 goals against average. It won’t be about Predators coach Peter Laviolette (who the Bruins wouldn’t give their coaching job to once upon a time) now taking his third different team to a Stanley Cup Final.
No, the narrative that will have Pierre McGuire doing hockey boners during every NBC broadcast will undoubtedly be the P.K. Subban story. I can just hear him now, how “the Toronto born star and former Belleville Bull and Hamilton Bulldog turned NHLer” is seeking to stuff the Habs in a locker after trading him from hell to paradise. How he’s thriving being the #3 in a light and fun Nashville instead of having to be the #1 in a stubborn and archaic Montreal.
Habs fans are going to hate it. Us Bruins fans are going to love it. Because the hockey world needs the Preds to win this thing for all the nauseating arrogance that still rolls out of Montreal nearly a quarter century since they last sniffed a Cup.
Let’s face it. We all need to see this beautiful bastard smiling with the Cup:
Even though I’m far more interested in seeing her with it:
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