Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Predators goalie Rinne struggling as Pens take 2-0 lead

Matt Niskanen ejected for crosschecking Sidney Crosby in the face Image via Getty
Clarence Duncan | 12 June, 2017, 06:22

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.

Rinne is just looking to put both games in the past.

In Game 2, Rinne played two solid periods, allowing one fluke goal in the first period, but stopped 18 of 19 shots faced through 2 periods. Dino Ciccarelli tops the list, having scored 14 goals for Minnesota in 1981. And while the Predators desperately need Rinne to rebound and return to form, they also need a way to keep Guentzel, who scored his leading 11th and 12th goals of the playoffs, off the scoresheet. He has found his touch at the right time for Pittsburgh, which leads the Final 1-0.

That was not the end of the Penguins' quick start in the period, however. The Predators can continue to dominate this series with their peerless back four and their aggressiveness, and they can get back into this series.

"There's a stretch they're able to gain some momentum, able to capitalize and be opportunistic and that swung two games in their favor", he said. We can't let them get to us like that.

How it happened: For the second straight game, the Predators outplayed the Penguins much of the night.

The feel-good story of the 2017 National Hockey League playoffs has been the Predators, with goaltender Pekka Rinne as the backbone for their run from No. 8 seed in the West to the Stanley Cup Final. The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay. To be blunt, Murray has been as brilliant as Rinne has been awful. His catfish throw made him a hero to Predators fans like singer Carrie Underwood but a villain to some in Pennsylvania.

Guentzel tapped home a loose puck under the left arm of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne at 16:27 of the first. It took a remarkable individual effort from Aberg to open the scoring with 7:03 left in the first.

The Penguins may have won 5-3, but they were outshot 26-12.

It's Aberg's second goal of the playoffs.

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

The Predators got a five-on-three advantage at 9:36, when Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin (hooking) and Chris Kunitz (crosschecking) were sent to the box.

Penguins center Matt Cullen briefly left the game earlier after getting hit in the corner but returned and didn't miss a shift. The Predators were arguably the better team in the opening game.

Sullivan promoted Bryan Rust to play on the first line with Conor Sheary and Sidney Crosby. Yet there was Malkin, free to choose between the top corner and Phil Kessel on the backdoor, choosing wisely. I like Nashville to inch back into this series with a game three victory.

Catfish watch is on for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville also went with the same lineup as in Game 1.

Country music star Alan Jackson will play a concert prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in Nashville on Saturday.

"Everything was there that we liked but the result", Ellis said. 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.

Forward Colin Wilson did not take part in Nashville's morning skate Wednesday at PPG Paints Arena after missing Game 1 on Monday night because of a lower-body injury.

The teams come off a weird Game 1 that featured a questionable offside review wiping out a goal by P.K. Subban, a Predators fan throwing a catfish onto the ice and the Penguins enduring a 37-minute shot drought and scoring the victor on the next shot they took.

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