Pens Beat Predators in Game 1, 5-3

Solenn Plantier
Mai 31, 2017

All they ask is the score.

A Nashville Predators fan has been charged after allegedly throwing a catfish onto the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh.

But Nashville's defence buckled down in the second, preventing Pittsburgh from registering a shot on net in the period.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne allowed four goals on 11 shots.

The Guentzel goal was a turn of events, and fans watching at home were surely dumbfounded by the development. Nashville dominated long stretches of the second and third periods, and even limited the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins without a shot for an impressive 37-minute stretch before falling 5-3.

That's a general description of the Penguins through Sullivan's eyes.

"I think the fact that a lot of guys went through it a year ago and they can draw from that experience is good", Crosby said. "He's a very good player". "We hate the score". He's pretty sound defensively. He's a competitive guy.

Then again, the way Game 1 went, there's no telling what might happen in Game 2. Rinne stopped seven shots. "The five-on-three goal was tough... the redirect off our defenseman, there's really no challenge on that".

If the Predators had played with confidence leading up to that goal, having it disallowed had the opposite effect.

First came this fantastic one-timer by Evgeni Malkin, who continues to rack up the points on his way to the Conn Smythe trophy. They fell behind 3-0 and looked overmatched at times. It didn't stop there.

Not everything, though. Pittsburgh's second goal came after Nashville's Calle Jarnkrok laid his stick on Patric Hornqvist's skate in front of the net, and Hornqvist went down - it was either a very artful trip or a phantom call, but as it happened Nashville's James Neal was cross-checking Trevor Daley at about the same time. Seriously. A team with Malkin, Crosby and Kessel could not put a single puck on net for. And it cost them.

A shot by Nashville's Roman Josi glanced in off Colton Sissons for a power-play goal at 10:06 of the third to cut the lead to 3-2. Nashville C Mike Fisher, the only Predator with Stanley Cup Final experience, returned to the lineup after leaving Game 4 of the previous round because of a knee to the head. And then, it got downright embarrassing.

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). Nashville Predators fans cheer as they watch Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at one of several viewing areas set up Monday, May 29, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn.

Getting shots on Rinne became Pittsburgh's mission.

Typically, when there's a two-on-one, the usual preference of a goalie is to have the defenseman back cover a potential pass and leave the puck carrier to the goalie.

Just 1:05 later, Sheary had an open net behind Rinne for a tap-in near the right post on a pinpoint feed from Chris Kunitz for a 2-0 Penguins lead. Early the Predators were closer to controlling the game than Pittsburgh was, and they broke through. We know how good we can be. Just a minute later Conor Sheary scored a goal that was set up by a handsome pass from Sidney Crosby, who sent the puck out from behind the net to Chris Kunitz who fed it cross-ice to Sheary.

If this is how the National Hockey League envisioned the coach's challenge working, then something is broken. "Well, it was just off-sides by a little bit".

Upon further review, officials ruled that in fact was the case.

No question, offsides should be called. They also understand they can't afford to have their offense go dormant for almost two periods.

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