Penguins 4 Predators 1 (PIT leads 2-0)
So there was the leaky Pekka Rinne that we all expected to see in the first round. We said it in the series preview, if there was one thing that could really disable Nashville it was if Rinne started regressing.
In Game 2 he gave up a brutal tying goal in the first period that somehow sqeaked through his pads. Then came the onslaught of the third period… The second goal was the result of his trampoline pads giving up a huge rebound. The third was another own goal off a Pred defender, but even that could have been stopped. The fourth was just an absolute missy by Malkin that finally sent Rinne to the showers early. The result was a 4-1 Penguins win, and a 2-0 series lead heading south to Nashville.
-You have to wonder if the Preds will start playing musical goalies going forward, especially if things go awry early in Game 3. Saros came on in relief Wednesday and promptly gave up a softy that was eventually called back. So confidence could be (is already) a big issue between the pipes for the Preds. After posting a sv% well over .900 in the first three rounds, Rinne’s save percentage in the Final is currently .778… Yikes.
-After being dragged around in Game 1, the Penguins responded by carrying the play for most of Game 2. They blitzed the Preds in the first, and seemed to pretty much control the rest of the way up until they hammered the nail to start the third. That’s not to say the Preds never pressured, Murray saw rubber all night, and they had 32 shots through two periods. I just never felt like they were about to break it open like the Pens did. The Preds scored first, but really never seemed to genuinly threaten the rest of the way, including a two minute 5-on-3 that they couldn’t cash in on.
-Jake Guentzel has to be getting some serious Conn Smythe consideration right now. The rookie has 12 goals these playoffs, including two in Game 2. He passed 1990 Jeremy Roenick on the “rookie playoff goals” list, and now trails Dino Ciccarelli who had 14 in 1981.
-PK Subban and Evgeni Malkin had a pretty nice scrap late in the game. Giving us one of the greatest GIFs ever. Classic PK!
-Justice has been served as all charges against the Game 1 Catfish tosser by Pittsburgh Police have officially been dropped. Smart move, as that would have been a waste of resources and a gross miscarriage of justice.
-If the Preds don’t come out with snapback Carrie to sing the anthem before Game 3, just give the Cup to Pittsburgh. America’s cultural equivalent to Celine Dion and O’ Canada back in the day.
-Needless to say that Game 3 is a must-win for the Predators. They’ll be in front of a raucous crowd that will be getting their first ever taste of Stanley Cup Final hockey. The atmosphere is sure to be incredible. It will be an interesting first ten minutes, as the Pens will be looking to slow things down and take the crowd out of it, and the Preds will be looking to settle down Rinne and get him back to the stable form that we’ve seen all playoffs. He has to be great on Game 3, or Nashville might not have a chance.