Published: Thu, June 01, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Struggling Pekka Rinne pulled in third as Penguins take 2-0 lead

Struggling Pekka Rinne pulled in third as Penguins take 2-0 lead

The Penguins are 12-4 with Rowney in the lineup in the playoffs and 2-3 when he is scratched.

Scoring more goals and firing more shots than any team during the regular season, Pittsburgh is certainly capable offensively and especially opportunistic in the playoffs with goals on 11 per cent of their shots. "If he plays the game the right way, winning puck battles, the wall plays, gaining lines, taking what the game gives you, then when the play is there his instincts will take over because he is a real talented kid". Then it's too much. The only area where Nashville wasn't markedly better than the defending Stanley Cup champions is the only one that really matters.

Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third period to put Pittsburgh in front for good. We'll win that one and move forward.

Only if Rinne turns back into Rinne.

Nashville, a first-time Final participant, heads home with a sizeable task.

The Nashville Predators' tradition of throwing a catfish onto the ice came to Pittsburgh for Game 1 Monday night and could get another chapter for Game 2.

Nashville not only outshot the Pens by a giant margin but also held them without a shot for 37 minutes before allowing two goals in the final four minutes.

Rinne fell to 0-5-0 in five career starts in Pittsburgh and he has never beaten the Penguins anywhere as a starter.

"It's very disappointing. I treat this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity", Rinne said. Pittsburgh also did it in 2009, losing both games on the road against Detroit. All three goals in the third period, we could have done something better. Conor Sheary spent a couple games in the press box recently, but he's heated up with a goal and an assist in the last two games.

It's definitely a welcome addition to the often vanilla in-game experience you see across most rinks in the National Hockey League, but that's what we've come to expect from Smashville. It left the guys from "Smashville" in a new position for the first time since they began their mad dash to the final a month ago: chaser instead of chasee as Game 2 looms tonight.

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The Penguins and Predators each have a goal as Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final is tied at the first intermission.

The three goals came in a flurry that took only slightly longer than Rinne needed to summarize it.

Evgeni Malkin extended Pittsburgh's lead to 4-1 just 15 seconds later, beating Rinne with a wrist shot during a two-on-one.

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

"We just shifted the focus a little bit, trying to cut his minutes", said Sullivan. And you could see Subban desperate to shake things up, dropping the gloves with Malkin late in the third period after a verbal exchange. We know how good we can be.

Subban expressed confidence in Rinne, as the team did after the Game 1 loss.

Penguins center Nick Bonino has left the game after blocking a shot from the Predators' P.K. Subban in the first period.

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".

A style that now has the Penguins two victories away from the cusp of a dynasty.

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