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Predators goalie Rinne struggling as Pens take 2-0 lead

03 June, 2017, 01:51 | Author: Paula Vaughn
  • Jake Guentzel

Matt Murray is schooling Pekka Rinne in the nets and rookie Jake Guentzel has scored the key goals in both games.

Proving again that the quality of their shots on goal matters more than the quantity, the Pittsburgh Penguins flattened the Nashville Predators in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final by capitalizing on their prime scoring chances.

Two games into the Stanley Cup final, Rinne, a goalie who had been one of the favourites to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP has a.778 save percentage and is shouldering most of the blame for why the Penguins - and not the Predators, who have been the better team - are two wins away from repeating as champions.

Among Penguins players, Guentzel is easily the quietest.

The Penguins have a 2-0 series lead, as it shifts to Nashville for Game 3 on Saturday at Bridgestone Arena.

Guentzel scored on a long, juicy rebound of a Bryan Rust shot just 10 seconds into third period, the quickest goal to start a period in Penguins playoff history. "You can't even put into words what it feels". "We're going to win the next game, and then we'll move forward". The 34-year-old spent the first three rounds of the playoffs helping carry Nashville to the Final for the first time. In the past 15 years, it ranks second behind Game 2 of the 2013 Final between Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks, which was played between two Top 10 media markets and averaged 3.964 million.

As Nick Bonino struggled to walk off the ice in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Predators after taking a slap shot to the ankle, it appeared that he had suffered a fairly serious injury.

Guentzel, who scored the victor in Game 1, now has the second-highest goal total ever recorded by a rookie in one playoff season.

Rinne entered the series with a.947 save percentage in the postseason.

NBC Sports released ratings information Thursday afternoon for Wednesday's Game 2 in Pittsburgh (the Predators lost 4-1) and - not surprisingly - Pittsburgh and Nashville had the most viewers of all USA markets with local shares of 31.1 and 16.3, respectively.

"The limited chances they've had they've done a good job", Rinne said.

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"We were leaving an odd-man numbered rush", said Laviolette.

Could have been worse: Patric Hornqvist appeared to score the Penguins' fourth goal of the third period, but it was nullified by an offside call on a coach's challenge by Nashville's Pater Laviolette.

By the end of the second, the Predators' shot advantage was 32-19, but it remained 1-1, thanks to a stellar effort from Murray. Selected in the 8th round of the 2004 draft, he became a regular in 2008-09, and helped lead his team to at least 100 points in two of the next four seasons.

Penguins forward Jake Guentzel has tied Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville at 1-1 late in the first period. 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. They matched that, firing six shots in the opening 3:28 of the third period. Wilson was credited with his third of the playoffs just over 3 minutes later when a centering pass caromed off Nashville's Vernon Fiddler and by Rinne. That said, Rinne needs to stop the easy ones and he needs to stop one or two of those no-fault goals if the Predators are to rally and win the Cup. "We're not where we want to be".

Nevertheless, the Penguins were "pretty confident" going into the third, Conor Sheary said.

So when he was pulled in game two, many asked if he would get benched for game three?

The Pittsburgh Penguins captured Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final without playing anything close to their A-game.

In four playoff games following a loss this postseason, Nashville's Pekka Rinne had posted a.960 save percentage.

Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray stopped 37 of 38 Nashville shots. And Predators defenseman P.K. Subban added to the frenzy by guaranteeing a Predators' win in Game 3, then doubling and tripling down on his prediction.

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

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