Late goals lift Penguins in Stanley Cup opener

Jake Guentzel prevented overtime in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final by scoring a late victor for the Pittsburgh Penguins to bury the Nashville Predators.

The final stat line - five goals on 12 shots for Pittsburgh - the lowest shot total for a winning team in the Stanley Cup Final.

The Pittsburgh Penguins were outshot 26-12 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Nashville continued to control play in the third period, and midway through the third period, they pulled closer with a Roman Josi goal from the right circle on a power play. Jake Guentzel responded for the Penguins by scoring a goal with just over 3 minutes left in the game.

A few minutes later the Preds were whistled for two penalties, an interference on Calle Jarnkrok and a cross-check by James Neal, giving the Penguins 2:00 of a 5-on-3 Power Play. Pittsburgh, the defending Stanley Cup champions and the highest-scoring team in these playoffs, went nearly two full periods without registering a shot on goal.

Predators captain Mike Fisher, back after sitting out two games because of an injury, said he didn't realize how long the Penguins had gone without a shot on goal but recognized that he and his teammates were getting a lifeline.

Nashville made National Hockey League history in Game 1: The Predators held the Penguins without a shot on goal in the second period, becoming the first team in Stanley Cup Final history to keep an opponent from recording a shot on goal in a Cup Final period since shots on goal became a stat in 1957-58. We know he's a good player. I don't think anyone is going to ask us how we came out with wins at this time of year. Maybe if we come out in Game 2 a little stronger and get to our game as much as we can I think maybe we could surprise them.

Game 2 will emanate from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh once again, as the Predators look to swing home-ice advantage in their favor before returning home to Nashville.

Ryan Ellis, Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau scored for the Predators.

Pittsburgh downplayed the notion it was tired, figuring adrenaline and a shot at making history would make up for any lack of jump while playing their 108th game in the last calendar year.

Pittsburgh looked a step behind at the outset.

Taking a page from the Detroit Red Wings' time-honored octopi-throwing tradition, Predators fans have made it a tradition to throw catfish on the ice in Nashville.

After all, a team as good as Pittsburgh will rarely be dominated as thoroughly as it was for much of Game 1, and Nashville still couldn't capitalize and steal a road game.

The Penguins started sustaining more pressure and limiting the Predators. Clearing attempts were knocked down or outright swiped, tilting the ice heavily in front of Murray.

Pittsburgh jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first frame of this game, scoring a flurry of goals in the latter half of the first period.

Guentzel's goal was his 10th of the playoffs, second-most in playoff history by an American-born player in one playoff year, trailing only Jeremy Roenick, who had 11.

After the defending champs were held without a shot over a span lasting 37 minutes, Jake Guentzel finally put a puck on net for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Just how Penguins coach Mike Sullivan drew it up. But the Penguins challenged the play, claiming Filip Forsberg was offside on the preceding zone entry.

"I thought our guys played great", said Laviolette.

The decision gave the Penguins all the wiggle room they needed to take charge.

"It's not textbook", Sidney Crosby said after a two-assist performance in the 5-3 win.

Nashville, unlike the Senators, didn't bail.

Instead, they stopped playing.

For 37 minutes in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Pittsburgh Penguins' offense was nowhere to be found.

A position the Penguins have become increasingly comfortable in under Sullivan. They can win with both firepower and precision. The goal with 16.1 seconds remaining in the opening period was credited to Nick Bonino after he put the puck off Rinne and it went in off Ekholm's knee.

  • Julie Sanders