Penguins take 2-0 Stanley Cup lead with win vs. Predators

Pittsburgh overwhelmed Rinne and the rest of the Predators with a three-goal blitz in the first 3:18 of the third period during a 4-1 win Wednesday night, a game that ended with Nashville's star goaltender on the bench after he was pulled by coach Peter Laviolette.

Pontus Aberg scored the lone goal for the Preds, who host their first ever Stanley Cup final game under dire circumstances on Saturday night.

Rowney dished out a game-high seven hits in 13:09 as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 to take a 2-0 lead in the series, which heads to Nashville for Games 3 and 4.

He benefited from a long rebound off a shot by Bryan Rust and took advantage of an open quarter of the net to make it 2-1 and establish a Pittsburgh record for their fastest playoff goal at the start of a period.

The 22-year-old tied the game 1-1 in the opening frame and then sparked the third period avalanche by beating Rinne 10 seconds in.

Then, just over three minutes later, the Predators had their second own-goal in as many games, when Vernon Fiddler's skate knocked a bouncing puck through Rinne's five-hole - the goal officially goes to Scott Wilson, but equal credit should go to Phil Kessel, who earned the assist for sneaking the puck into a risky position. In sum, he's allowed eight goals on 36 shots so far in the series. His goal 10 seconds into the third period went down as the game victor, which gives him five during this playoff run.

Backup Juuse Saros replaced Rinne following Guentzel's early third-period goal.

Jake Guentzel scored 10 seconds into the period. We want more. It's our game.

The teams come off a freaky Game 1 that featured a questionable offside review wiping out a goal by P.K. Subban, a Predators fan throwing a catfish onto the ice and the Penguins enduring a 37-minute shot drought and scoring the victor on the next shot they took. "There's things that we could have done".

You could also argue that without Fleury stepping into the breach and carrying the Penguins through the better part of the first three rounds, they aren't even in the Stanley Cup final.

"We just shifted the focus a little bit, trying to cut his minutes", said Sullivan. "So we're going back home, we're going to win the next game, and then we'll see what happens from there". "You can't even put into words what it feels. But we know the ultimate goal is two more wins and they're going to be tough to get".

Nick Bonino, after blocking a P.K. Subban shot with his left ankle in the first period, appeared to be injured but returned for the start of the second period.

"When you lose a couple games and get pulled, you're not happy about how things went", Rinne said, according to ESPN.com.

"It's obviously nice to get that right away, get a jump and get some energy in the building", said Penguins forward Matt Cullen. I played a long time for the first time having a chance to play for the Cup. Brian Dumoulin and Olli Maatta also found the back of the net for the defending champs, who came alive after a stunted start to the series.

Matt Murray has been near-brilliant in goal for the Penguins.

A Nashville Predators fan who delayed the first game of the Stanley Cup ice hockey finals in the U.S. by throwing a catfish onto the rink won't be facing charges for his actions. The Predators scored first again, but unlike Game 1, this one stood and it was a beauty.

Coming into the Stanley Cup Final, Pekka Rinne was likely at the top of many lists for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoffs' most valuable player.

The signs were there from the Anaheim series, so it's not really a surprise Rinne is allowing glove-side game-winners to Jake Guentzel. They are headed home to Bridgestone Arena, that earsplitting palace of soccer-style chants and live guitar licks, where have lost just once this postseason.

Nashville is the only team in history to make it to the Stanley Cup Final as the 16th seed and only two other teams, the 2006 Edmonton Oilers and 2012 L.A. Kings, have made it to the final as the Western Conference's eighth seed.

  • Julie Sanders