The Pittsburgh Penguins blew a three-goal lead before composing themselves and scoring the winner late in the third period to take Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final over the Nashville Predators.
Here’s three things we learned from the opener:
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What was that Michael Scott quote?
“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you don’t take.”
Ah yes, the famous Wayne Gretzky quote. Well, someone may want to remind the Penguins of that after their second-period performance.
Pittsburgh failed to record a shot in the second and the Predators held a 21-8 shot advantage after two periods.
The Penguins’ next shot didn’t come until 16:43 of the third period when Jake Guentzel beat Pekka Rinne for the winner. That’s a span of 37 minutes without a shot.
Nashville’s great defence didn’t translate into the offence it was hoping for, at least not right away. Ryan Ellis scored the only goal of the second on the power play to cut the deficit to 3-1. The Preds would later score twice in 3:03 to tie the game in the third.
It didn’t take long after P.K. Subban’s disallowed goal (more on that later) for the Penguins to get the fans at PPG Paints Arena on their feet.
Evgeni Malkin open the scoring at 15:32 on the power play before Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino made it 3-0 heading into the first intermission. Pittsburgh’s power play is operating at a lethal 25.4 per cent, good for second best in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It was the first stretch of intense adversity for the Predators, who rarely open games this poorly.
This stretch, coupled with the third-period goal, made for a difficult stat line for Rinne. The Finn entered the series as a Conn Smythe Trophy frontrunner but finished Game 1 by stopping seven of 11 shots and owning a .636 save percentage.
Goal or no goal?
Subban came oh so close to giving the Predators a 1-0 lead in the first period.
The defenceman thought he had opened the scoring by beating Matt Murray with a wrist shot and celebrated accordingly. But a review from the Pittsburgh bench for offside caused the referees to take another look.
The referees ultimately agreed that Filip Forsberg didn’t have both skates onside while entering the zone and it was ruled no goal.