Predators goalie Pekka Rinne struggling as Penguins take 2-0 lead

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On Tuesday, Guentzel was a feel-good story after scoring the winning goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. Skating one-on-one against Olli Maata, the Predators rookie turned Maata inside out on a deke and then cut towards the net and went upstairs on goalie Matt Murray.

He is now winless in five career starts at Pittsburgh and looking to change his luck in Nashville where the Predators are 7-1 in the playoffs. Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin (71) celebrates his goal against Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the third period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

With the game clearly out of reach, Predators coach Peter Laviolette chose to sit his star goaltender for the rest of the contest, replacing him with backup Juuse Saros seeing his first-ever action in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 2 goals tonight were huge- an important answer in the 1st period to tie the game than the eventual GWG early in the 3rd to help open the floodgates.

"He's just such a calming presence back there", Penguins defenceman Ian Cole said after the Game 2 win, which put Pittsburgh up 2-0 in the best-of-seven series.

Staff Favorite - Predators picked to win by five of seven staffers. That chased goaltender Pekka Rinne. "I think the first goal of the third period, you know, we went out there after playing two really solid periods and they scored a goal on the first shift".

The Pens almost got a four-goal lead after Patric Hornqvist scored from the slot.

Nick Bonino, after blocking a P.K. Subban shot with his left ankle in the first period, appeared to be injured but returned for the start of the second period.

The problem therein is that Pittsburgh has been outshot in 15 of its 21 playoff games, yet owns a 9-6 record in those games. The offense-generating blue liner made a bold prediction following Game 3.

In the third period, after Guentzel pushed the Penguins ahead, 2-1, Scott Wilson converted a feed from Phil Kessel, and Malkin kept it going, scoring on a determined rush for a 4-1 Penguins edge at 3:28 into the period.

He now leads the National Hockey League with 12 goals this postseason (three more than any other player) and an nearly unbelievable five game-winning goals.

We've entered the third season of the annual South Point-lined Play of the Day competition, effective July 1. There is little room for error, and no time to waste.

But in Monday's opener, Pittsburgh scored three goals in a four-minute flurry late in the first period for a 3-0 lead and then went 37 minutes without getting a shot on goal before hanging on for a 5-3 victory. They had been out-shot 32-19 at that point.

But Murray, who has already won a Stanley Cup and is two wins away from winning another, has experience. That's not typically a blueprint for success, but in the small-sample environment of postseason hockey, an opportunistic team with as much talent as Pittsburgh can apparently survive playing that way. "You could tell they want to do that so whether it's from the point or from the sideboards they're trying to get pucks in there and (Murray) did a great job of making those saves and sometimes second opportunities as well".

NOTES: Penguins C Matt Cullen left in the first period briefly after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin.

NEXT GAME: The Predators will host the Penguins for Game 3 at 8 p.m. Saturday. Rinne stopped a shot by Conor Sheary but the rebound came to Guentzel, who was in deep.

That Waddell threw the catfish on the ice is not a random event. The Predators are now trailing the Penguins two games to none in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final series.

Guentzel tied it 1-1 at 16:36 of the first, four seconds after a Penguins power-play expired. It's Guentzel's playoff-leading 11th goal. Pekka Rinne will need to be Round 1 or Round 2 vintage, and I just don't think he's got it in him. No more defensive lapses, no more undisciplined penalties and no more soft goals.

Through two periods, the Predators looked like they might pull out a Game 2 win.

Still, the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist has allowed only 13 goals in eight playoff games at home and his teammates vowed to play better defense.

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