The Penguins and Predators could have the same lineups for Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, two nights after a freaky start to the series that few could have expected. Guentzel played just 11:52 in Game 1 and 14:09 in Game 2. After throwing the southern treat, Nashville scored three unanswered goals to tie the game. That being said there are many ways the Pens can take game two tonight and possibly win the series quickly. His 19 playoff points are the most by an American-born first-year player and he'll have at least two more cracks at adding to that total. The first shift in the third period, we score.
The 23-year-old Aberg beat Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta to a puck in the Penguins zone, passed it through Maatta to himself and then patiently drew Murray out of the net before flipping it by the sprawled goaltender.
Later, he opened the floodgates to start the third period just 10 seconds in when he pounced on a fat rebound in the slot and drilled it into an empty net, kicking off a wild four-minute stretch where the Penguins scored three goals to put the game away and send them to Nashville with a 2-0 series lead. Just how Pittsburgh handles the Nashville defence will be central to which team wins the series.
"We had a lot of chances to shoot the puck and we looked for the extra pass", Penguins center Scott Wilson. "As a fan, I'm proud to be included in their road to the Stanley Cup". "When he has the ability to make a difference by making a big play at a key time, he tends to do that". We see that more often than not on the powerplay where the Penguins will just pass it around the offensive zone looking for the flawless play.
"We've always been a team that keeps on going, keeps pushing".
In an indication of the wackiness of the way game one was played compared to the final score, it may be the Penguins that are looking to make the bigger adjustments for game two.
"We try to be honest and candid with our players as far as our self-assessment", said Sullivan.
During one second period sequence, he stopped a James Neal backhand that caromed off a teammate's stick and then shut down Filip Forsberg rushing down the left side on an odd-man rush. Defenseman P.K. Subban said the team was "extremely confident" and in the prospect of going home, where the Predators are 7-1 during the playoffs. It didn't even delay the game that much.
Be more aggressive with on the forecheck. "But I think a lot of times for a goalie it gets easier to play the game when you see a lot of pucks".
Country music star Alan Jackson will play a concert prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in Nashville on Saturday. Sounds like a reoccurring theme.
Because Guentzel was a third-round draft pick four years ago, and is a smaller, undersized player and didn't start the year in the National Hockey League he is going to get looked at as "coming out of nowhere" this postseason. The Predators also haven't lost two straight games during their playoff run, and they hope that won't happen Wednesday in Game 2 at PPG Paints Arena.
This one will likely go down as one of the great "capers" of Stanley Cup Finals history, and perhaps in sports history!
An unheralded third round pick who grew up in Minnesota, Guentzel also sits directly to Crosby's left in the Penguins dressing room, a purposeful move by head coach Mike Sullivan, who likes his rookies to watch and learn from the captain. The Pens have the ability to be repeat Stanley Cup champions for the first time in nearly 20 years.
Evgeni Malkin extended Pittsburgh's lead to 4-1 just 15 seconds later, beating Rinne with a wrist shot during a two-on-one.