Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

It Took Just Over Three Minutes for Pittsburgh to Obliterate Nashville

Jake Waddell, a Nolensville, Tenn., resident, was charged with disorderly conduct, possessing an instrument of crime and disrupting a meeting after sneaking a catfish into PPG Paints Arena and tossing it onto the ice during Monday's Game 1 in Pittsburgh. Guentzel's go-ahead goal 10 seconds into the third period slammed the door shut on Game 2.

As expected both teams came out with a fast and furious mindset.

Two nights later, the Penguins used a three-minute stretch at the start of the third period to turn a tight Game Two into a runaway win.

The problem here is Pittsburgh once again not being able to generate shots.

Because Guentzel was a third-round draft pick four years ago, and is a smaller, undersized player and didn't start the year in the National Hockey League he is going to get looked at as "coming out of nowhere" this postseason. That is a ridiculous number, and it must be changed when the Stanley Cup Finals continue on Wednesday. Pekka Rinne has been the Predators rock for their playoff run this season, but a.636 save percentage is abysmal.

But for Pittsburgh this isn't Columbus, the victim of a gentleman's sweep despite outshooting Pittsburgh; this isn't Washington, which eventually succumbed to its own internal demons in Game 7; it's not Ottawa, which Pittsburgh solved as the series went on.

Rinne can't even be considered the second-best goaltender in this series, not with Fleury in reserve for the Penguins.

Aberg was the only one to get past him, opening the scoring at 12:57 of the first.

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Pittsburgh overwhelmed Rinne and the rest of the Predators with a three-goal blitz in the first 3:18 of the third period during a 4-1 win Wednesday night, a game that ended with Nashville's star goaltender on the bench after he was pulled by coach Peter Laviolette.

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. Aberg cut past him and to the front of the net, holding onto the puck before lifting a forehand past goalie Matt Murray for his second playoff goal. Our five-on-five game was really good and all of a sudden we're losing sync because we keep going to the penalty box. But, that's where most would be wrong. And after Rinne had allowed four goals on 11 shots in Game 1, he wanted to feel good about his game again.

Of Nashville's five losses this postseason, two have been in Game 2.

What has made Rinne's performance so deflating is that Nashville had been driving possession for most of Game 2 and might have actually been the better team. But including his time in the American Hockey League to start the year, his time with the big club in the regular season and the playoffs to this point he has now scored 49 goals in 94 games this season. Nashville is 7-2 in the playoffs when scoring first, and this time it counted after a coach's challenge for offside wiped out a goal that would've given the Predators the lead in Game 1.

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.

Pittsburgh recorded just six shots in the entire second period. The 34-year-old entered the Stanley Cup Finals with a.947 goals against average, but during this series, his average has dropped to an abysmal.777. In Game 1 against Nashville, Malkin, Conor Sheary, and Nick Bonino scored in just over four minutes in the first period to put the Penguins up 3-0 - they'd go on to win 5-3.

Scott Wilson made it 3-1 in favor of the Penguins 3:03 later. Face off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised by NBCSN.

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