It’s Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. Bridgestone Arena is wound tighter than you could believe. The score is 0-0 and it’s getting late in the third period. You’re getting the feeling that it’s gonna take a dirty goal to win this one. The Nashville Predators are hoping to stave off elimination and send it back to Pittsburgh for a Game 7. Then, just like that, in the blink of an eye, Patric Hornqvist and the Penguins struck and they led 1-0 with only 93 seconds remaining in the game — and man alive, it was a dirty one.
Let’s take a look at this again.
As Ryan Ellis failed to fully clear the puck around, Chris Kunitz finds himself with puck, as well as a little time and space. He drifts towards the corner.
As he drifts closer to the blue line, you can see he wants to move the puck to the point, where Justin Schultz is covering and waiting.
Kunitz makes an incredible play to get the puck under the Nashville player’s stick and to Schultz
Schultz channels his inner Sergei Gonchar and moves a little into the zone, head up the whole way.
In comes the shot from Justin Schultz. Nashville has the slot covered well, but we’ve seen worse chances produce good things before.
The shot goes wide, but wait, it bounces off of the end boards, and Ryan Ellis got lost out in front of the net and Hornqvist has a little time alone in his office with Pekka Rinne.
YOU GREASY SON OF A BITCH, YOU. That’s a damn goal.
What a moment. We were all mentally preparing for OT and the Pens were suddenly 90 seconds away from repeating as Champions.
Just that little space between Ellis and Hornqvist gave him the room to make a move. A healthy Ryan Ellis might be able to cover for that and get back in position. BUT HE DIDN’T.
Hornqvist saw the puck before anyone else. Before Rinne could get turned and before Ellis could get in position.
That little bounce off of the outside of the cage and an underrated hand-eye coordinated batting the puck out of the air and into the net off of Rinne’s elbow.