Stanley Cup Notebook: Opportunistic Penguins Grab Control Of Series

The Penguins bested the Predators 4-1 on Wednesday evening to take a commanding two-game lead in the Stanley Cup Final.

Without question, Rinne was the Predators' leading candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy (playoff MVP) at the start of the series, which moves to Bridgestone Arena for Game 3 on Saturday (7 p.m., NBC Sports Network).

Twice the game was tied; twice the Penguins took the Preds out of it in the blink of an eye. Subban explained why he was so confident, noting the Predators know they deserve to be playing for the Stanley Cup.

- He paid $350 for a pair of upper-level tickets to the game, then bought "an entirely too big" catfish at a Tennessee market.

Pittsburgh had a 31.1 local rating, the best ever for a Penguins game in the market on NBCSN, surpassing all previous Stanley Cup Final games on the network.

Rinne also gave up a very big rebound to Guentzel on the Penguins' game victor 10 seconds into the third period. "You can't even put into words what it feels like".

"We're going back home, we're going to win the next game", Subban said after the Predators' Game 2 loss in Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Only if Rinne turns back into Rinne.

Still, it was Nashville striking first on a gorgeous individual effort from rookie Pontus Aberg. "If that happens, it will be that Pekka Rinne will be great in Games 3 and 4".

Chased after allowing four goals on 25 shots faced, Rinne unraveled when the Predators simply needed him to keep the score close. Both scored at crucial times in each win - Guentzel in Game 1 and Wilson in Game 2.

As expected, his save percentage in this series is, uh, something else.

Pittsburgh has just two shots on five power plays and has not scored on any of them. "There's things we could've done. all three goals in the third period were odd-man rushes".

"I get nervous before pretty much any game", Murray said. In Game 1, they racked up four goals on 11 shots, certainly a more important statistic than the Penguins going 37 minutes without a shot on goal after it was 3-0. The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay. There have been times in this series where it was nearly impossible to imagine Pittsburgh threading four wins together, on this narrow of a tightrope.

The Penguins' quick-strike ability has allowed them to win the first two games while being outshot, outhit and outplayed for stretches. His goal was the fastest to start a period in Penguins' playoff history. Teams that have won the first two games at home are 34-3 in the Final. Through two periods of Game 2 Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin didn't have a shot on goal, and the Predators were controlling 64.7 per cent of the shot attempts at five-on-five, and the shots Pittsburgh did get were distant, helpless.

"We have to be more responsible with our actions", said Laviolette.

Figure, only one rookie - Dino Ciccarelli in 1980-81 - has produced more goals; he had 14. Focussing on details shift after shift. "We're not where we want to be". It took just 15 seconds after that for Evgeni Malkin to score on a two-on-one.

Jake Guentzel scored 10 seconds into the period.

Just like in Game 1, the Predators had a chance to win this game as easily as they lost it.

Cullen, a former Moorhead Spuds star, left briefly in the first period after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin. Even if he doesn't wind up receiving the award, the Penguins appear to have gotten a steal out of a third-round selection.

It was a scene hard to imagine through the first two taut and chippy periods.

  • Leroy Wright