Stanley Cup Final Odds: Will the Penguins Do It Again?
And then there were two.
With that Kunitz goal, Pittsburgh has a chance to repeat as champions, becoming the first team to do so since the Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.
But it won't be easy. While our algorithm sees the Pens as the stronger team, Nashville, with a 0.30 nERD -- or the number of goals we'd expect them to win by against an average team on neutral ice -- has already knocked off two top-10 teams in hockey (Chicago and Anaheim) according to our numbers. They also eliminated the 12th-ranked St. Louis Blues.
And they're soaring. The Preds started the playoffs with a nERD of 0.14, meaning they've increased that number by 0.16 over their three series of play. No team -- including the Penguins -- has seen their rating change by that large of a margin.
Our numbers do give the Penguins a 61.59% chance to lift the Stanley Cup when it's all said and done, but don't be surprised if this is a deep series. The most likely outcome is the Penguins winning in six.