Ailing Penguins ready for Predators » Manila Bulletin Sports

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Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, center, sprawls in the goal crease as Pittsburgh Penguins' Conor Sheary (43) tries to get to a rebound before Senator's Kyle Turris (7) during the second overtime period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 26, 2017.  (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson, center, sprawls in the goal crease as Pittsburgh Penguins’ Conor Sheary (43) tries to get to a rebound before Senator’s Kyle Turris (7) during the second overtime period of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final in the NHL Stanley Cup hockey playoffs in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 26, 2017. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

The Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators have spent the past six weeks in a postseason battle of attrition that will culminate with them locking horns in the Stanley Cup finals.

The marquee matchup between the ailing defending Stanley Cup champion Penguins and the first time finalist Predators features two National Hockey League teams that refuse to let adversity get in the way.

The resilient Penguins have two superstars up front, a ragtag group of blue liners and a proven playoff goalie as they seek to become the first back-to-back champion since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998.

The Predators are looking to make history as the biggest underdog to win the Stanley Cup. They weren’t supposed to be in this conversation when the season began, especially after trading away their franchise player, Shea Weber, in June.

But their run to the final has not only united their players behind a red-hot goaltender but also galvanized an entire city.

Both teams head into Monday’s game one in Pittsburgh with sterling playoff records as the favoured Penguins are 12-7 and are coming off three days rest after eliminating the Ottawa Senators in seven games.

Nashville, who were seeded 16th at the start of the postseason, are 12-4 as their Cinderella run through the 2017 playoffs brings back memories of the Calgary Flames’ improbable run to the finals in 2004.

The Sidney Crosby-led Penguins are not only chasing their second Cup in a row but their third in nine seasons. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said they are ready to go to war against Nashville. (Agence France-Presse)

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