Late in the first period during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final last night, the Nashville Predators had just fallen behind 1-0 after taking two simultaneous penalties and giving the Penguins a 5-on-3 power play that they scored on. The Penguins were riding the wave and just like that, it was 2-0 before you knew it.
In the blink of an eye, a Predators attempted defensive zone exit went the other way and it was in the back of the net. Let’s slow it down and look at it again.
As Viktor Arvidsson went back deep to retrieve a puck, he moved it behind the net towards defenseman Yannick Weber.
As Weber gets the puck in the corner, he attempts to clear the zone along the boards.
It looks like the puck is going to make it out, but off-screen here, is Brian Dumoulin, rushing into the zone to keep the play alive.
Dumoulin carries forward with the puck in the offensive zone, while Chris Kunitz floats back towards the blue line to cover for him.
Dumoulin maintains control of the puck into the corner, where Sidney Crosby is, and where all of the Nashville players float to defend the play.
The play turns into a puck battle on the boards between Sidney Crosby and Matt Irwin. Guess who comes out on the right side of that one? Crosby wins the puck and sends it backwards through the slot to Chris Kunitz, still covering the point.
As all of the Nashville players focus in on Chris Kunitz, he fakes a shot, and puts a perfect pass right on the tape of Conor Sheary’s stick, who sneaked into the backdoor of the play to Pekka Rinne’s left.
Sheary wastes no time, and it’s in the back of the net. Bing, bang, boom. 2-0 Penguins.
Look at how they’re all dialed in on Chris Kunitz. Yikes. How are they all gonna leave Conor Sheary all alone over there?
That pass though. The fake, and the vision. Just remarkable by Chris Kunitz. It’s amazing to see players putting up goals and assists who were running so cold before. 30+ games without a goal for Chris Kunitz, and he puts up 2 against Ottawa in Game 7. Conor Sheary gets scratched in the Ottawa series, comes up with a big assist in Game 7, and now a massive goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Have yourself a day, lil’ Conor, have yourself a day.