Stanley Cup Final three stars: Penguins, ever the opportunists, pummel Predators for 2-0 series lead

In five of the six periods played so far in this wild, wacky Stanley Cup Final, the better team wasn’t the one that has a two-games-to-none lead.

Outperformed for the balance of the series, the opportunistic Penguins blew Game 2 wide open with four unanswered goals three scored 3:18 apart in Wednesday’s third period to crush the Predators, who hold a statistical advantage in nearly every meaningful possession metric but have little to show for it.

That means little on the scoreboard, though, and the scoreboard says the defending Cup champions won 4-1 and need two more to complete a repeat as the series shifts to Nashville.

Three stars

3. Mark Stone, Senators Stone flies under the radar as an offensive difference maker but scored his third goal of the series and fourth in the playoffs and added an assist in the win. Stone missed time with a concussion in the regular season but he’s healthy and has been perhaps the Sens’ most important forward.

2. Craig Anderson, Senators All the credit to Anderson, who put his series struggles aside and stopped 37 of 39 Rangers shots in a big-time clinching performance. It’s the 18th playoff win of Anderson’s career, tying Ray Emery for second in franchise history.

1. Erik Karlsson, Senators Karlsson is the first defenseman in Senators history to score multiple game-winning goals in a single postseason.

Now, with the Penguins having vanquished the Ottawa Senators in Thursday nights Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, advancing to play the Nashville Predators for the Cup starting Monday, I’m reconsidering my position: I’m less convinced I was entirely wrong.

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