Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Nashville Predators in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final

The defending champion Penguins hold a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which shifts to Nashville for Game 3 on Saturday.

Pontus Aberg scored the lone goal for the Predators, who were once again undone by a sudden barrage from the NHL's highest-scoring team.

By Wednesday night, Guentzel emerged as the clear-cut favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy, the result of his two-goal effort in the Penguins' 4-1 win against the Predators at PPG Paints Arena. He speaks a little bit of Russian, but I play with some Russians too.

"They're fast, their (defense) are really good at joining the play, creating offense and I think their speed kind of allows them to check and be on pucks quick so that's what we expected to see", said Crosby. The inconsistent referees missed multiple retaliatory slashes by the Predators all night, including one by defenseman Mattias Ekholm after he was upended by grizzled Penguins veteran Matt Cullen. There was no penalty.

"It's insane", said Guentzel, who had tied it at 1-1 at 16:36 of the first period. "I feel even more confident now that I've had a night of rest", he said.

"But we know the ultimate goal is two more wins, and they're going to be tough to get". At the other end, Rinne looked like he couldn't wait for the period to end.

Just 15 seconds later, Malkin scored off a two-on-one, firing a flawless shot over Rinne's glove for a 4-1 lead. Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne sits on the bench after being pulled during the third period in Game 2 of the team's NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

The Pekka Rinne we all watched stop 38 of 41 shots against the Anaheim Ducks in the series clinching win in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final hasn't been seen in over a week in a half. "So we just thought if we cut his minutes, we'd get more productive minutes from him".

Then came the third period, when everything changed - for Rinne, for Nashville, for this series. We want more. It's our game. Pittsburgh had 12 shots and four goals on Rinne, extremely inflating his numbers because of how low the shot total was.

The 22-year-old Penguins rookie, one season removed from college hockey at Nebraska-Omaha - his hometown - scored two more goals, including scoring the victor for the second straight time in the series.

"Pekka's been excellent for us all year long", Laviolette said. "We need to be better in front of him". "There's things that we could've done - all three goals in the third period were odd-man rushes". "Clutch" has been quiet so far in the Cup final - that is, if you don't count his skate being offside on a crucial disallowed goal in Game 1. If the Predators are to have any chance in this series moving forward against the Penguins, Rinne must find a way to get back into his goaltending groove from the first three rounds of these playoffs. Skating one-on-one against Olli Maata, the Predators rookie turned Maata inside out on a deke and then cut towards the net and went upstairs on goalie Matt Murray.

For the first 40 minutes, P.K. Subban and the Predator's back line swarmed the middle of their defensive zone, pushing and prodding Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin around the ice while keeping them pointless. When they ask the next day, we're going to stay consistent with that. This is his first year pro, coming out of college, where he's not used to playing the National Hockey League schedule, and the demands of that physically, not to mention a long playoff run.

"He's the reason why we're here", captain Mike Fisher told the media after the game. Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino needed assistance to the locker room after blocking a shot off of his left ankle area in the first, but returned. Likewise, winger Carl Hagelin is expected to be a healthy scratch again for Pittsburgh.

  • Leroy Wright