It's pretty clear that Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray is outplaying Rinne.
The Pittsburgh Penguins came out flying at the start of the third period to score three unanswered goals in 3:18 en route to a 4-1 victory in Game 2. Scott Wilson followed at the 3:13 mark, and Evgeni Malkin completed the run 15 seconds later.
This rebound to set up Guentzel's go-ahead goal just 10 seconds in to the third? But they lost Game 2 by a score of 4-1, and trail the series 2-0, and it was like watching Ali come off the ropes.
Sometimes the worst part of an injury is not the pain, but rather it's watching helplessly as the team tries to win without you in the lineup.
Continuing to apply pressure, the Penguins created a two-on-one break in which Malkin kept the puck and shot it from the left wing, beating Rinne high on the glove side. At crucial points on Wednesday night, the Predators defense gave the Penguins acres, especially in front of the net.
But for Pittsburgh this isn't Columbus, the victim of a gentleman's sweep despite outshooting Pittsburgh; this isn't Washington, which eventually succumbed to its own internal demons in Game 7; it's not Ottawa, which Pittsburgh solved as the series went on. He made 31 of his 37 saves in Game 2 through the first two periods, none more important than the six shots he turned aside in the final 39 seconds of the first period after the Penguins had tied the game at 1 on Guentzel's first goal at 16:36.
While Rinne needs to have better rebound control there, maybe that goal wouldn't have happened if both defensemen didn't cover Bryan Rust. Wednesday night, Guentzel passed Jeremy Roenick and Brad Marchand who each scored 11 postesason goals in their rookie season. "We're going to stay consistent with that".
Penguins beat Predators 4-1, take 2-0 lead
That was not the end of the Penguins' quick start in the period, however. The Predators have also attempted 48 more shots, and have had 27 more scoring chances.
At the start of the Stanley Cup Final, Penguins winger Jake Guentzel was a long shot to claim the Conn Smythe Trophy, a 33-1 choice to take home the award given to the NHL's playoff MVP. Captain Mike Fisher took a needless interference penalty in the first period, while his team was on a 5-on-3 power play no less.
As for Saros, Game 2 was his first appearance in these playoffs.
Still, it was Nashville striking first on a gorgeous individual effort from rookie Pontus Aberg. It's Matt Murray that's the talk of the town.
And no catfish have been thrown on the ice so far.
Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they just need to win two of the next five games to become back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.
"It's insane", Guentzel said of his two big games this series after an eight-game goal drought. He was pulled in the third period.
It's Aberg's second goal of the playoffs.
Malkin later mixed it up with Predators defenseman P.K. Subban as things got chippy with the game out of hand. Pens third line centre Nick Bonino left the game in the first period after blocking a shot at 10:34 of the first period.
Why the NHL doesn't take charge of the Stanley Cup final is a professional mystery, the way the other professional leagues take over their championship events. Yet there was Malkin, free to choose between the top corner and Phil Kessel on the backdoor, choosing wisely.
- EU's Juncker opens China summit vowing to uphold Paris deal
- Under Armour's Kevin Plank rips decision to exit Paris climate agreement
- Putin Dismisses Intelligence About Russian Interference in Election as 'Assumptions'
- Serial winner Alves keen to add page to Juventus story
- Penguins Halfway Home To The Stanley Cup
- Massachusetts Joins US Climate Alliance After Trump Pull Out of Paris Accord
- Trans-Pacific Partnership moving ahead without US
- Putin ridicules claims of meddling in US vote
- Putin denies Russian meddling in U.S. election
- UN Security Council Sanctions 15 North Koreans With Ties to