NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A good night's sleep has P.K. Subban more confident than ever about what the Nashville Predators will do on their own ice trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final.
He delivered an All-Star guarantee for Saturday night.
"There's no question," Subban said Thursday. "We're going to win the next game, and then we'll move forward."
Subban came very close to guaranteeing a win in the moments after Pittsburgh's 4-1 win Wednesday night. The Penguins turned a 1-1 game into a rout by scoring three goals in the first 3:28 of the third period , forcing Nashville coach Peter Laviolette to pull star goaltender Pekka Rinne for rookie Juuse Saros.
On Thursday, the All-Star defenseman channeled Mark Messier, who backed up his own guarantee of a Rangers' win against New Jersey in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals. Subban explained why he was so confident, noting the Predators know they deserve to be playing for the Stanley Cup.
"We're capable of playing even better than we did in Pittsburgh, and I thought we played some great hockey," Subban said. "I mean, out of 120 minutes, maybe we'd like to take back six of them. Ultimately, we have to be realistic with where we're at. We're down 2-nothing. We're coming back in our barn, and we don't lose here. So it starts Saturday" (see full story).
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Sabres: Team relinquishes rights to Estephan, Possler
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have relinquished the rights to prospect forwards Giorgio Estephan and Gustav Possler by not signing them to contracts before an NHL deadline struck Thursday.
Estephan will re-enter the pool of players eligible to be selected in the draft this month. Possler becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The 20-year-old Estephan was Buffalo's sixth-round pick in 2015, and Possler was a fifth-round pick in 2013.
Estephan scored a career-best 35 goals and 89 points in 68 games last season with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. He added 11 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games.
The 22-year-old Possler had two goals and four points in 21 games for Swedish League's Djurgardens IF in a season cut short by an ankle injury.
Panthers: Thornton hired as business executive
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Shawn Thornton is now a Florida Panthers executive.
The recently retired forward was announced Thursday as the Panthers' new vice president of business operations. Thornton revealed in April that he would join the team's front office and work under Panthers president and CEO Matthew Caldwell after taking a bit of time after the season to prepare for his new career.
"It's a humbling day for me and I'm excited to begin the next chapter of my career in hockey," Thornton said.
Thornton played for two Stanley Cup winners as part of the Boston Bruins. He played professionally for 20 years, spending the first half of that toiling in the minors before eventually breaking through and logging 705 NHL games with the Bruins, Panthers, Anaheim and Chicago.
He is one of two players to play more than 600 games in the American Hockey League and at least 700 in the NHL. The Panthers said Thornton also is the only player this century to record 10 fights, score 10 goals and win the Stanley Cup in the same season.
"Shawn's work ethic, enthusiasm and passion for the Panthers organization is second to none," Caldwell said. "We are thrilled to welcome him to our executive team and know that he will bring the same level of professionalism, experience and leadership to the business side of our organization as he did in the locker room" (see full story).
Wild: Brunette promoted to assistant GM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have promoted Andrew Brunette to assistant general manager, the latest post in the organization for one of the best players in franchise history.
Brunette's elevated role was announced Thursday, with 10 other hockey operations and business side promotions.
Brunette was a hockey operations adviser last season after serving as an assistant coach the two years before that. He played six seasons for the Wild, ranking in their all-time top five in games played, goals, assists and power-play points.
Shep Harder, who was director of hockey administration, was also named an assistant general manager. Brent Flahr was promoted from assistant general manager to senior vice president of hockey operations.
Matt Majka, the chief operating officer and executive vice president, was named president of the Wild.