Penguins 5 Predators 3 (PIT leads 1-0)

You would think the team that failed to get a single shot on goal for 37 minutes would be the one on the wrong side of the scoresheet at nights end. Welp, not in this sport, and certainly not with this Penguins team.

Pittsburgh scored five goals on 12 shots in Game 1. That was somehow good enough to beat Nashville 5-3 and take a 1-0 series lead. 

The Predators dominated for the vast majority of the game. If Subban’s first period goal hadn’t been taken away by a phantom offside call this game may have turned out way different. Pekka Rinne also picked a bad time to return to earth, something I worried about before this series. The Pens cashed in three times in the first, and then held on for dear life for 37 minutes until Guentzel dented twine. Hockey is a weird, dumb game. 

Some thoughts from Game 1:

-I think you have to be encouraged if you’re Nashville. Controlling play in the series opener on away ice is always a good thing. The Preds battled and scrapped their way back to tie it 3-3 briefly in the third. But then it slipped away. It’s definitely a tough loss to take, but you have to be pleased with the effort going into Game 2. This is the first time they’ve trailed in a series this playoffs, so we’ll see how they respond to a little adversity. 

-As I said above, Pekka Rinne picked a bad game to lose form. Giving up five goals on 12 shots is ugly. What’s just as ugly is giving up the game-winning goal on what was Pittsburgh’s first shot in 37 minutes. Granted he was probably cold from standing around in the crease for that time frame. It was a tough end to the night for Rinne. He had to stop that fourth goal. That just can’t go in, no excuses. 

-For the first time this postseason Nashville didn’t get any of the bounces (Overturned Subban goal, Ekholm own goal), and once again the Penguins got all of them. The game seemed to shift after the disallowed Subban goal and the subsequent 5-on-3. That was all Pittsburgh would need, surviving another incredibly average effort. If the puck luck continues to go this way it’ll be a short series. 

-Catfish tosser (Patriot) almost became famous. Had the Preds overcome the three-goal deficit and won after the catfish toss, it could have possibly gone down in hockey lore. We would henceforth always remember “the Catfish game.” Oh well, wasn’t meant to be.
-We knew this was the most desirable Final from an excitement standpoint, and both teams certainly delievered in Game 1. It looked for a minute that it might get out of hand, but credit the Preds for hanging in and clawing their way back. This is gonna be a hell of a series.