The Pittsburgh Penguins continued their dominance over the Nashville Predators, defeating them 4-1 in Stanley Cup Final Game 2. Pittsburgh led in the scoring department, despite failing to convert on seven power plays, and goaltender Matt Murray facing almost 40 shots.
Pittsburgh Penguins Take Stanley Cup Final Game Two
Through a rough and physical first period, penalties were handed to Nashville’s Craig Smith, Mike Fisher, and Roman Josi, as well as Pittsburgh’s Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin, but neither team was able to score on their power plays. Nashville opened up the scoring with a goal from Pontus Aberg twelve minutes in, with Pittsburgh tying it up four minutes later with Jake Guentzel‘s eleventh post-season point, which moved him into a tie for second-most rookie playoff points (11) with Jeremy Roenick and Brad Marchand.
Nick Bonino returned for the second, after blocking a PK Subban shot off his ankle in the first. Guentzel scored again to begin the third period, moving him into the second all-time rookie playoff points, and the most for an American-born rookie. Two more goals from Pittsburgh’s Scott Wilson and Malkin led to Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne being replaced with rookie netminder Juuse Saros. A Patric Hornqvist tally was challenged by Peter Laviolette prevented the score from becoming 5-1, and a late fight involving Malkin and Subban left two the the league’s best in the penalty box and unable to help their team.
Despite a valiant effort by the Predators, who dominated in the faceoff circle, out-shot the Penguins 38 to 27, and killed all seven penalties against them, they go back to Nashville down two games. If they are able to continue their physical game the way they have, they stand a chance of beating the Penguins in home ice. However, if Pittsburgh continues with the offensive pressure, especially from players like Malkin and Guentzel, they face an uphill battle. A stronger showing from Rinne will be required as well. The Finnish netminder, who has proven to be a strong presence in the Playoffs so far, has struggled in net at PPG Paints Arena, and needs to put up a good show at home.
Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final is Saturday, June 3 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.