Published: Thu, June 01, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Penguins take 2-0 series lead over Predators

Penguins take 2-0 series lead over Predators

The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.

Who played well in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final? Game 3 is Saturday night in Nashville in what amounts to a last stand for the Predators and their suddenly very average-looking goalie.

"Pekka has been excellent for us all year long", Preds head coach Peter Laviolette said.

Then, there were goals like this that should have been stopped without much trouble.

The barrage started with Jake Guentzel.

With the game tied 1-1 through two periods on goals by Pontus Aberg and Guentzel, it took just 10 seconds into the third for Guentzel - who scored the victor in Game 1 - to get his second of the night.

"You can't even put into words what it feels like".

Only if Rinne turns back into Rinne.

If the Predators don't get it together back home in "Smashville", it might only be two. In nine games, Rinne has never won a game against the Penguins in his career. The rookie from Omaha, Nebraska, leads the playoffs with 12 goals and has scored the past three goals for Pittsburgh.

In the Predators' sweep of the Blackhawks, Rinne put up a.976 save percentage.

All five members of the offensive line were seen during Game 2 between the Predators and Penguins chugging beers and hoisting a catfish, drenching themselves in beer - and making sure to share some with their new friends.

He said he sprayed the fish with cologne and body spray, packed it in a cooler, and sneaked it into the arena by stuffing it down his trousers between two layers of regular and compression underwear - having tested the method by wearing the fish at his in-law's home for 20 minutes without them suspecting anything. And while the Predators desperately need Rinne to rebound and return to form, they also need a way to keep Guentzel, who has three goals in the series, off the scoresheet. "There's a stretch they're able to gain some momentum, able to capitalize and be opportunistic and that swung two games in their favor".

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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).

"When you lose a couple games and get pulled, you're not happy about how things went", Rinne said. He allowed four goals on 11 shots in Game 1 and has allowed 20 goals over his past six games after allowing just 16 over his first 11 playoff games. And it was once again led by the baby-faced son of a coach who has no problem shouldering the responsibility of playing alongside star Sidney Crosby. Pittsburgh scored soon after to make it 3-1, a goal that was credited to Scott Wilson, who got a piece of the puck before it went off the skate of Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler and between Rinne's pads.

Catfish tossing has been a tradition of the Predators since 2003, and Metro Nashville police say that no one has been prosectuted since the tradition began. I still expect more of the tight, hard/fought games we saw in much of Pitt/Ottawa series.but played at a faster pace. The first shift in the third period, we score.

True, though for the majority of Game 1, the competition was pretty one-sided.

Jake Guentzel has scored his second goal of the night to give Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead early in the third period of Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville.

The Penguins and Predators are tied at 1-1 going into the third period of Game 2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

Guentzel was also the hero in Game 1, beating Rinne to break a 3-3 tie with just over three minutes left in regulation.

NOTES: Penguins C Matt Cullen left in the first period briefly after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin. Defenseman P.K. Subban pointed to the response after falling behind by three as proof the stage is not too big.

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

Pittsburgh stayed in it thanks to Murray and when Pittsburgh returned to the ice for the start of the third they, as coach Mike Sullivan is fond of saying, "got to their game".

Jeff Jimerson (up) - The regular national anthem singer for the Penguins for more than two decades performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" for Game 1 and Game 2 and was flawless each time, setting a high bar for the celebrity singer that will perform the anthem for Game 3 in Nashville.

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