PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan)- NHL on NBC Analyst Keith Jones joined Cook and Poni just hours before tonight’s all or nothing Game 7 between the Penguins and Capitals in Washington, D.C.
The Caps are the heavy favorite at home tonight, but don’t tell Jones that.
“The Pens have a very good chance,” Jones said. “Because the Caps are once again the favorite and that is when they have all stumbled in the past.”
Jones continues to explain his thoughts saying that the Caps history with the Pens and playoff failures will have them gripping the sticks extra tight tonight, playing almost not to lose rather than trying to win.
The first goal in this one will be huge because the Caps will be hard to beat if they have the lead with the crowd, but should the Pens jump to an early lead it could be a sense among the Caps fans as “Here we go again.”
So how can the Pens win tonight?
Jones said Marc-Andre Fleury will have to be great and the Pens will have to show the speed that helped them win the Stanley Cup last year.
“Fleury has done it before,” Jones said. “And tonight he will be the underdog and when he has been the underdog he has played his best.”
The Pens will need more than just Fleury. They will need help from the star players Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin putting the puck in the net and for Jones, he believes the Pens’ stars are capable of doing just that and moving on to the Eastern Conference Final.
He also added that the Pens have a huge advantage on the bench and would take Pens coach Mike Sullivan over Caps coach Barry Trotz in this Game 7 situation.
Could this be the last shot for this Caps team as we know it?
“This is it,” Jones said. “This is the clearest path to the Stanley Cup Final they have had.”
Jones said he would favor the Caps easily over Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Final, but is not as confident in the Pens. But, both teams have work to do before worrying about the next series.
So does Jones like the Pens tonight?
“I think they find a way,” Jones said.
We will find out soon enough when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. for what should be an epic Game 7.
Listen to the full interview here: