Game 3 between the Predators and the Penguins is scheduled for 7PM CT. Pittsburgh Penguins Matt Murray catches the puck during hockey practice, Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
The Nashville Predators came out flying in the first period, and it looked like Nashville would take game-one over Pittsburgh.
In a stunning third-period offensive burst, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Finals. Six players, including Mario Lemieux, scored the six goals for the Pens in that clinching game, and despite missing six of the 21 playoff games that year with a broken hand, Lemieux finished with 16 goals and 18 assists to become only the second player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) in consecutive years. Mired in an eight-game goal drought heading into the series, the 22-year-old Nebraskan provided the victor in Game 1 and again in Game 2 when he pounded home a rebound just 10 seconds into the third for his third of the series and 12th of the playoffs.
The Penguins scored three times in the first 3:28 of that period, and again, not all of that is on Rinne.
The floodgates are open in Pittsburgh. That rookie: Jake Guentzel.
The inconsistency of the NHL's referees and linesmen, especially in the postseason, has haunted hockey talk for some time, and the spotlight will - like it or not - be on the officials once again Saturday. He stopped a rushing Filip Forsberg with the glove and then got that same yellow, black and white glove on a powerful Roman Josi shot from the point.
The Preds are probably shell-shocked by what happened at the start of the third period but they have to be completely mystified about Rinne, who has given a Swiss cheese performance.
When asked if he could translate Malkin's comments, Subban smiled. "You just have to bury these two games and find a way to have some success". The game will be Nashville's first home match of the Final series.
Had it not been for rough stretches in the first period of Game 1 and the first few minutes of the third period of Game 2, the Nashville Predators very well could be up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final.
Guentzel, who snapped an eight-game goalless drought when he pumped the victor by Rinne with 3:17 left in the series opener, tied it later in the period.
That goal snapped an eight-game scoreless streak for the 22-year-old Guentzel.
Nashville is outshooting Pittsburgh 32-19 and the Penguins had only seven shots in the second period.
Now, before you get all lathered up thinking a Penguins sweep is inevitable, you should study recent history. He gave up four goals on 11 shots in Game One and it was four on 25 shots in Game Two. The Penguins offense was held in check for most of the game and had no answers for the Nashville defense until ten seconds into the third period.
The Penguins jumped out to an early lead with their assistant captain Evgeni Malkin tallying the first goal of the game.
Country music stars have been showing their support for the Predators by performing the National Anthem during their recent playoff games.
And no catfish have been thrown on the ice so far.
Guentzel's early third period strike was his second goal of the night and third in two games against the Predators. The Predators can continue to dominate this series with their peerless back four and their aggressiveness, and they can get back into this series. The hottest goaltender in the playoffs was only tested 11 times in 58 minutes - and lost.
Still, it was Nashville striking first on a gorgeous individual effort from rookie Pontus Aberg. Though face-offs haven't been a strength for the Penguins all season, they'll be looking to improve that mark in Game 3.
Nashville has gotten contributions from those like Aberg throughout the playoffs.
Just 15 seconds later, Malkin scored off a two-on-one, firing a ideal shot over Rinne's glove for a 4-1 lead.
Laviolette hinted after Game 2 that Rinne would return to the net in Game 3. The former second round pick undressed Maatta on a drive to the net and then out-waited Murray for the 1-0 lead. "As a player, as a team or as a coach, any of us who are associated with the Stanley Cup final, you can't help but get excited by the types of environments that these guys are playing in".
Instead, coach Mike Sullivan opted to stick with him while also praising his overall play even without the goals. Yet there was Malkin, free to choose between the top corner and Phil Kessel on the backdoor, choosing wisely. Scott Wilson was dropped to the fourth line with Matt Cullen and Patric Hornqvist. They were mathematically out-shot, largely outplayed, and unquestionably moved closer toward claiming back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
It has become apparent throughout the National Hockey League playoffs that interest in the Nashville Predators extends well beyond the walls of Bridgestone Arena. Game 3 will be played on Saturday at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.
The Penguins and Predators could have the same lineups for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, two nights after a weird start to the series that few could have expected. Pittsburgh made no lineup changes, meaning LW Carl Hagelin was a healthy scratch.