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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final blog: Ian Cole

Penguins defenseman says team must play better in Game 2 against Predators

by Ian Cole / Special to NHL.com

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole will be keeping his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators. Cole will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Cole, 28, is in his second season with the Penguins. They acquired him in a trade from the St. Louis Blues on March 2, 2015. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season, and scored 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 81 games this season.

Here is Cole's second entry, before Game 2 against the Predators at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports):

 

PITTSBURGH -- The narrative since Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final is we didn't get a shot for 37 minutes, and that's not good, that's not ideal by any means. But on the flip side of that, we did have a lot of zone time. We still possessed the puck really well and didn't give [the Nashville Predators] much either.

We won the game.

Put it all together and I think everyone on our team is feeling pretty positive about the fact we could get a win, 5-3 against the Predators, without playing our best hockey. Everyone is excited to be in a situation like that because being down 1-0 is certainly not ideal by any stretch of the imagination. We'll take it.

The thing is, though, setting the tone as far as winning games goes is obviously what you want, but we did not set the tone for the series with our play because we didn't play well. Everyone on this team is glad that we won, no one is happy or content with the way we played to get that win.

I think to downplay a win because we didn't play well wouldn't be good, but to be satisfied that we won and say it doesn't matter how we played would be pretty shortsighted, because this is a seven-game series and there is plenty of time for them to come back and turn the tables on us if we don't start playing well or just play better.

We can play a lot better and make it a lot harder on them. To do that in Game 2 on Wednesday we have to make it a different game.

We know they'll still keep their tight gaps through the neutral zone and try to limit our odd-man rushes, but we can play a lot stronger with our forecheck and our reloads. We can do a better job to limit their speed through the neutral zone. We know their 'D' like to skate and join the rush, so to get a good forecheck and reload well and stay above those guys, I think will put us in a beneficial situation.

 

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We talked all of that in our video session Tuesday. Let me take you in the room for that.

People think we have these hour-long video sessions, but that's not how it is. It's about 20 minutes. I think coaches realize that anything much longer and you can start to lose guys. They lose their focus and attention. Concise and business-like is always better.

And that's what video sessions are like with Mike Sullivan.

Business-like in the sense that it's not super negative, like he's not telling us, "Oh, you guys played terrible, you're the worst." But it's not super positive either, he's not saying, "Oh, we won, so we played fantastic."

He's very honest. I think he prides himself on being a very honest and straightforward guy. Him coming and really telling it like it is in a video session, saying, "Hey, we didn't play well, we know we can play better, and here is why I say we didn't play well, let me show you," is a great way to do it.

He shows it to us. He gives us the proof. And then he shows us things we did well. He's very matter-of-fact about it.

Now we have to execute what he showed us on the ice in Game 2.

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