Pittsburgh vowed to put more pressure on Rinne than it managed in their 5-3 victory in Game 1, a win they managed despite going 37 minutes without throwing a single puck Rinne’s way and none in the second period, the first time that’s happened since the National Hockey League started tracking shots in 1957. 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 Pittsburgh Penguins can all but wrap up this series by winning here and taking a monster 3-0 lead.
Coach Peter Laviolette pulled him after the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three goals in the first 3:28 of the third period and broke open what had been a close, tense affair.
Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jake Guentzel (59) celebrates his second goal of the night against the Nashville Predators.
Just 15 seconds later, Malkin scored off a two-on-one, firing a flawless shot over Rinne’s glove for a 4-1 lead. “So we’re going back home and we’re going to win the next game and we’ll see what happens after there”.
Evgeni Malkin’s 4-1 goal really put the nail in the coffin for the Predators.
Subban, who had 44 penalty minutes in 66 regular-season games this season, said he didn’t take kindly to some things Malkin said in Russian. The next game will be Saturday, June 3rd at 8:00 pm at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
The Penguins beat Rinne four times on just 11 shots in Game 1 and scored three goals on 25 shots Wednesday for a 2-0 series lead.
And then Crosby won the opening faceoff in the third, and Rinne sent a rebound of a Bryan Rust shot out like a pinball flipper and Guentzel buried it.
Jake Guentzel scored two goals and now has 12 in 21 playoff games to lead all scorers.
Speaking of Guentzel, after an eight-game scoring drought, the rookie now has three goals within the last two.
The Penguins mustered only 12 shots in Game 1 but won, 5-3, because they made the most of the few scoring chances they had. That’s a big reason why Nashville has 53 shot attempts to Pittsburgh’s 31. They had been out-shot 32-19 at that point.
Even with supremely talented players who are capable of making moves most National Hockey League players couldn’t even dream of, these plays – the courageous block, the big hit, the extra reach to keep a play alive or start a rush – are the ones that get the Penguins’ bench going.
The Penguins are just two games away from becoming the first repeat champions since the Detroit Red Wings of the late 90’s, while the Predators are hoping to win their first Cup Final in franchise history.
“We’re not looking at anybody”, said Nashville defenceman P.K. Subban, when asked about Rinne’s performance.
The Preds have only lost one playoff game at home this season.
And no catfish have been thrown on the ice so far.
After the Pittsburgh Penguins chased him from the net in a 4-1 win on Wednesday, he might want to get back to that happy place again.
The Predators jumped out first at 7:03 in the first period on Pontus Aberg’s goal. He has a playoff-high 12 goals.
Seven Predators fired shots on goal in that span, and none of them got one past Penguins goalie Matt Murray. Seconds before that, Pittsburgh forward Nick Bonino required help to get off the ice after he blocked a shot by Subban with his left foot.
NOTES: Penguins C Matt Cullen left in the first period briefly after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin.
Defenseman Trevor Daley missing the last two games of the second round with a lower-body injury. Scott Wilson was dropped to the fourth line with Matt Cullen and Patric Hornqvist. The Predators can continue to dominate this series with their peerless back four and their aggressiveness, and they can get back into this series. He made some big saves, there’s no question.