PK Subban

Rookie Miro Heiskanen leads Stars in upset win over Predators

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The Dallas Stars and Nashville Predators have no shortage of defensive stars, so it seems appropriate that defensemen also drove the offense in Dallas’ 3-2 win over Nashville in Game 1. Among them all, it was rookie blueliner Miro Heiskanen who came out on top with two goals.

Roman Josi got Nashville on the board first and that was the only goal going into the first intermission. Heiskanen answered back with a power-play goal in the second period and then gave the Stars a 2-1 lead at 6:10 of the third. Heiskanen was one of the league’s top rookies this season. In addition to contributing 12 goals and 33 points in 82 contests, he logged 23:07 minutes per game. After a campaign like that, Stars coach Jim Montgomery didn’t shy away from leaning on Heiskanen in his playoff debut. Only Nashville’s Josi and Dallas’ Esa Lindell spent more time on the ice in Game 1.

[NBC 2019 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Mats Zuccarello scored the first goal of the series contributed by a forward at 10:39 of the third period. It has to be particularly satisfying to the Stars to see him score, especially after he barely played for them in the regular season due to injury. He suffered a broken arm in his first game with Dallas after being acquired from the Rangers.

Predators defenseman PK Subban cut the lead in half to make it interesting and a late holding penalty on Mattias Janmark gave Nashville a good chance to tie the contest. The Stars managed to stay strong though and Ben Bishop was solid when he needed to be, making 30 saves on the night.

The pressure is now on the favored Predators to bounce back and ultimately to win one in Dallas, where the Stars were 24-14-3 in the regular season.

Stars-Predators Game 2 from Bridgestone Arena will be Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. ET on CNBC

Ryan Dadoun is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @RyanDadoun.

P.K. Subban sends inspirational message to young fan after racist taunts

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P.K. Subban is pure class.

Sure, you can argue to the nth degree about who Subban is on the ice. He’s a polarizing player at times.

But when it comes to the man off of it, there are no arguments: Subban is an exceptional human being. And this was once again on display on Monday on Reddit.

A person with the Reddit username u/hockey7676 posted to the r/hockey subreddit. The post wasn’t long, but said, “My 13 year old son has been dealing with a lot of racist taunts this year. He received a text message Saturday night from his favorite player PK Subban.”

Attached to it was the video message that Subban sent the boy — who was identified in the message only as ‘Ty.’

His message? Keep moving forward.

“As long as you’re still breathing in this world, you gotta believe in yourself,” Subban said. “And let nobody tell you what you can and cannot do, especially if it’s because of the color of skin.

“In this world, some things happen that we don’t understand. That’s OK, we don’t have to understand it. All we need to do is understand ourself, believe in ourself and keep trying and keep pushing forward.

“I just want to tell that when you’re playing hockey, you play because you love the game and you want to play. Let nobody take that away from you.”

The Reddit post was up to 1,200 comments as of Monday night.

Subban’s off-ice heroics have been well-documented.

In 2016, while still a member of the Montreal Canadiens, he pledged $10 million over the next seven years to the Montreal Children’s Hospital.

While in Nashville, he’s set up a program called Blueline Buddies, which aims to break down barriers between police and youths in the area.

[MORE: Forsberg’s return just what the Predators needs]


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Pekka Rinne begins Stanley Cup Final as the Conn Smythe favorite

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Pekka Rinne enters the Stanley Cup Final as the favorite to capture the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP, according to odds released by Bovada.

No surprise.

The Predators have gone on a terrific run this postseason, hitting the high expectations laid out for them prior to the start of the season. There have been many reasons for their success this spring, most notably the play of Rinne in goal.

He started the playoffs with consecutive shutouts versus the Blackhawks and then only gave up three goals in the final two games as Nashville swept Chicago, considered the Stanley Cup favorite when the playoffs began, in the opening round.

Rinne has continued to roll, with a .941 save percentage throughout the entire playoffs, while Nashville has allowed only 29 goals in 16 games.

Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are also near the top of that list for the Conn Smythe odds. Crosby is the reigning Conn Smythe winner, while Malkin leads all players with 24 points in 19 playoff games.

Here are the odds, via Bovada:

Pekka Rinne    9/4

Sidney Crosby    5/2

Evgeni Malkin    7/2

Matt Murray    9/1

Filip Forsberg    10/1

Phil Kessel    10/1

PK Subban    16/1

Roman Josi    25/1

Viktor Arvidsson    33/1

Ryan Ellis    33/1

Jake Guentzel    33/1

Chris Kunitz    33/1

Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is Monday in Pittsburgh. After winning it all a year ago, the Penguins enter the series as the favorites against the Predators.

Related: Pekka Rinne has been the backbone for the Predators during run to the final