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An interview with the NHL Network's Kevin Weekes and Mike Rupp

I was given the great opportunity to chat with these two former-players-turned-analysts and get their thoughts on Game 1 as well as what to expect with Game 2.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Kevin Weekes and Mike Rupp offer some great insight for their respective positions. Weekes and Rupp, a former NHL goalie and center respectively, are now prominent NHL Network studio analysts. What better way to get an idea of the Penguins' and Predators' game plans than to get it straight from two men who have played very crucial positions. Without further ado, let's get to it.

Everyone and their catfish expects Pekka Rinne to have a bounce-back game in Game 2. Being a former goaltender, should we expect this to be the case?

Weekes: Yes, absolutely. Rinne is a bona fide All-Star in this league. I expect a fully-determined and stout Rinne for Game 2.

Over the last few years, a lot of stock has been put into sports psychology for goaltenders. Being a Penguin fan, we're all too familiar with Marc-Andre Fleury and his playoff struggles. What does a .623 save percentage do, if anything, to Rinne's mindset?

Weekes: Rinne is a professional. Everyone at this level has to have a short memory to move onto the next game. Rinne's next start and the way he prepares for the Penguins will be no different than any previous start.

One of the high points for the Penguins in Game 1 was the GWG from Jake Guentzel. From a forward's perspective and a goalie's perspective, how was this goal scored?

Weekes: If you watch the play over again, you see Rinne try to cover up the 5-hole. Guentzel's deception and release were key to the goal. And you have to remember, Guentzel is a left-handed shot coming up the right side. As a defenseman, you have to respect Guentzel's ability as he takes to the center of the ice. With all of this in mind, Guentzel made Rinne pay and helped give the Pens a 1-0 series lead.

Rupp: Let's not discount the great pass from Cullen along the boards to set up the goal. Guentzel will beat you with his speed and skill and he did just that, but it was Cullen's ability to get the puck to Guentzel that started the whole thing.

What will the Penguins and Predators need to do to make sure their club gets the win in Game 2?

Weekes: Rinne obviously needs to step up to give his team any chance to win. For the Penguins, I think Matt Murray will have to be aware that the Predators will try to get more bodies in front of him to make his job more difficult.

Rupp: The Penguins will need to continue to rely on their offensive success to beat Rinne and win.

Who are your X-Factors for Game 2?

Weekes: For me, it's Geno Malkin. Looking at what he's done so far in these playoffs, besides Pekka Rinne, he has to be the Conn Smythe favorite. I'm looking for a big game from Geno.

Rupp: I'm going with Rinne. We expect a bounce back game and he has the ability to steal a win for his team. He may do just that for the Preds in Game 2.


In conjunction with the interview, I was kindly provided with a snippet of a demo of how the Guentzel goal was scored. You can see the demo in its entirety on tonight's pre-game edition of "NHL Tonight," which begins at 6 p.m. ET on NHL Network.

You can watch Mike Rupp and Kevin Weekes on NHL Network's "NHL Tonight," which will air live on-site before and after every Stanley Cup Final game.