Down 2-0, Rinne's Slide Continues

"Obviously, they're going to be tough to get".

The game started well for the visitors when a strong individual effort by Aberg gave Nashville a 1-0 lead at 12:57 of the first.

Rinne was caught between lamenting his first two games and looking ahead.

The game had an average audience of 3.278 million viewers on TV, which was up 27% from last year's Final between the Penguins and the San Jose Sharks.

Rinne entered the Final as the best goaltender, statistically speaking, with a.947 save percentage in the playoffs. Pekka Rinne has given up 36 goals on 510 shots faced.

Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) makes a save during the second period of the Pittsburgh Penguins game against the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.

Laviolette was purposely vague when asked post-game whether he would stick with Rinne for Game 3 in the Music City on Saturday night, where his team has been almost unbeatable in the playoffs with a 7-1 record on home ice.

Right goalie move: Since Penguins coach Mike Sullivan switched goalies in the conference final, new starter Matt Murray is 5-1 with a 1.54 goals-against average and.943 save percentage. Of those teams, 90 percent went on to win the Stanley Cup, including Pittsburgh last season. At the other end, Rinne looked like he couldn't wait for the period to end. And for the past two months, they've been dropping like flies for the Penguins.

Jake Guentzel scored two goals and now has 12 in 21 playoff games to lead all scorers.

This game was closer to what we had expected out these two uptempo teams.

After watching Game 2, a phrase that my Dad who served in the Army for 20 years used to say popped into my head: SSDD (Same.er, Stuff.Different Day). The majority, 31, came through two periods. The Predators bounced back from that and eventually tied it in the third period before Rinne allowed the game-winner.

Nashville's Pontus Aberg scored the opening goal of the game with 7:03 left in the first period.

Murray didn't see much work after that - the Penguins gave up only six shots in the third period. Even if Rinne does rediscover his touch and improves his play tenfold, it's hard to imagine the Penguins will lose this final if Murray continues to play as well as he has to this point. Among that same group of playoff teams, they ranked fourth during the regular season, with 2,060 hits. It's Guentzel's playoff-leading 11th goal. Not being concerned on scoring goals and making plays. The Penguins were held scoreless on all of those chances, but that's too many penalties for the Predators to take.

The empirical evidence that the Penguins have provided throughout this Cup run suggests that Pittsburgh could have overcome Bonino's absence had he not returned.

It's OK. You can admit it.

Rinne doesn't want to have any carryover from the two losses. It's a recurring theme in the playoffs.

The result was the kind of up-and-down play that showcased the speed on both sides and included more than a dash of antagonism, particularly early.

His goal also came with three of Nashville's best defensemen - Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban - on the ice, stuck after the penalty expired. Whereas Rinne could've chalked Game 1 up as bad luck or an off night, there's no hiding from his Game 2 performance.

The amusing thing about Game 2 is that it started nearly completely the opposite of Game 1. Heading into Game 3 in Nashville, Pittsburgh is first in the league this postseason with 372 blocks, 66 more than the second-ranked Ottawa Senators.

Unfortunately for the Predators, an equally formidable player is emerging for the Penguins.

So far, the Predators haven't been able to make them stop.

  • Julie Sanders