The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals: Tokyo Drift on Ice

Published on 31-May-2016 by Chips 10

NHL    NHL Daily Update

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The 2016 Stanley Cup Finals: Tokyo Drift on Ice

Looks like the world's fastest team sport will be proving it this year.

That is, if the pace of Stanley Cup Game 1 is any indication.

If it woulda been played at the Brickyard, Pittsburgh's Penguins and San José's Sharks might've lapped Alexander Rossi.

And while the Pens protected home ice, it didn't really look like that's gonna matter all that much:

After making the Stanley Cup Finals in 2008 and winning the Cup in 2009, many thought Pittsburgh -- led by Sidney Crosby and Geno Malkin -- would be contenders for years to come.

But constant injuries to both Crosby and Malkin, along with inconsistent play by goalie Marc-André Fleury, kept them from getting close to another Cup victory.

This season, the Washington Capitals led the league from wire to wire, and the Penguins were on their third coach in three years after firing Mike Johnston in December and replacing him with Mike Sullivan.

After losing their first four games of the season under Sullivan, Pittsburgh has never looked back, finishing on a tear, and then defeating the Rangers, Capitals, and Lightning in the playoffs.

This has been done with backup goalie Matt Murray, who, after being injured himself, returned to replace a concussed Fleury and has been consistent in goal ever since.

Maybe it's time for someone to try high blocker for a change.

Meanwhile, the Sharks are getting their first taste of the Finals, and wouldn't have been in this position without the play of Joe Pavelski, who has 13 goals in the post-season.

One of the biggest was served up by 36-year-old Joe Thornton, sealing a 1-0 victory in the Western finals:

Goaltender Martin Jones looked solid in defeat, which is yet another indication this series could go the distance.

In fact, dude's looked solid all season.

Hockey fans may get a case of tennis neck watching the Pens and Sharks flash back and forth, but goalie play looks to keep the games close amidst all the fast-&-fury that'll be surrounding them.

Dudes just gotta avoid distractions.