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Pens Points: The Stage is Set

Penguins begin final push for back-to-back Stanley Cup championships in Game 1 against Predators. Adversity had led Pens back to this moment. Mike Sullivan continues to push the right buttons.

2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Media Day Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The time for talk is over and now it’s time to get this show on the road. Tonight the Penguins and Predators will drop the puck on Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. Four wins for the Penguins and they become the first team since 1998 to repeat as Stanley Cup champions. Four wins for the Predators and they capture their first Stanley Cup in franchise history in their first attempt.

Puck drop for Game 1 is scheduled for 8:00 PM and will be broadcast on NBC.

Three years ago Jim Rutherford took over as general manager of the Penguins. His first move in this blink of an eye rebuild was trading away James Neal to Nashville in exchange for Patric Hornqvist. Brining in Hornqvist gave the Pens a physical presence they sorely missed. [Penguins]

Banged up all season but hit especially hard during the Eastern Conference Finals, the injury report is starting to look a little better for the Pens as they prepare for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Knowing they would be without Kris Letang for as long as they were still alive, the Pens lesser known defenseman stepped up and helped carry the team back to the Stanley Cup Final. [Denver Post]

Coming out of the West, the Predators are somewhat of an unknown opponent for the Pens. Some big names may stand out but plenty of questions still remain when you only see a team twice a season. A Western Conference scout helped break down the matchup with his own knowledge of the Predators. [Trib Live]

As it has been all playoffs long, the big screen will be outside for all Penguins’ home games during the Stanley Cup Final. Inside the arena the “Gold Out” tradition will continue with fans receiving a t-shirt and towel for the games. [Penguins]

For a lot of the Penguins’ players this Cup run is about a lot more than just themselves in the locker room, it has turned into a whole family affair. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

Since becoming head coach in December 2015 every decision Mike Sullivan has made has turned to gold for the Penguins. His ability to push exactly the right buttons has put the Pens on the verge of back-to-back championships. [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

There were several times throughout the season when the Pens looked like they may not have what it takes to repeat. They battled through injuries to top players and fatigue from a short summer. Through everything, they have forged a bond with one another and a determination that cannot be stopped. [SBNation]

Winning the Stanley Cup once is hard enough. Winning it back-to-back is an opportunity few ever get a chance to experience. [National Post]

Similar to the Senators, the Predators will run a 1-3-1 system but at a much faster and more physical pace. While the Sens setup was much more of a sit back and defend style, the Predators attack the puck and look to create turnovers going the other way for scoring chances. [Pensblog]

When weighing intangibles for the Final, one area the Pens will have a clear advantage is experience. Captain Mike Fisher is the only player on the Nashville roster to have ever played in a Stanley Cup Final game. [ESPN]

If you’re lucky you will get to see your favorite team land a player that changes everything for the franchise. For Pens fans, we have been more than lucky to see franchise changing talent wear the skating penguin. [CBC]