Five things we learned: No rebound for Rinne

Pittsburgh Penguins Chris Kunitz talks about his teams Game 2 win, the bad parts of their game and the impressive play of Guentzel and Murray.

Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators went into Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final feeling confident they’d be able to tie up the series against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

No such luck.

While things looked promising for the Predators in the first two frames as they out-shot their opponent once again, the Penguins ran away in the third with three quick goals for an eventual 4-1 victory. Pittsburgh now leads the series 2-0, handing Nashville two straight losses for the first time this post-season.

Here are five things we learned in Wednesday night’s Game 2.

No rebound for Rinne
Goaltending was one of Nashville’s greatest strengths this post-season, but it’s been a weakness so far this series.

After backstopping the eighth-seed club all the way to the final two, Rinne opened up the championship series with a dismal performance as he let in four goals on just 12 shots in Game 1’s 5-3 loss. Game 2 wasn’t much better, with the 34-year-old letting in four goals on 25 shots and getting pulled after three of those markers came in the first three minutes of the third period.

This was Rinne’s first time being yanked from a game since a Feb. 21 matchup against the Calgary Flames. Backup Juuse Saros took his place, facing just two shots and stopping both.

The netminder has a not-so-great history against Pittsburgh:

Rinne now has a poor .777 save percentage through two Stanley Cup Final games. This after impressive .976, .932, and .925 percentages against the Blackhawks, Blues and Ducks, respectively, in the first three rounds.

Matt Murray, on the other hand…

Another game, another own goal
We’re not trying to rub salt in the wounds here, but Game 2 featured a familiar sight for Predators fans: Another own goal.

Game 1 saw a pass bounce off the leg of defenceman Mattias Ekholm and into the net, and Game 2 had a similar play as a Penguins pass deflected off the skate of Predators forward Vernon Fiddler and into his own net for a five-hole own-goal to make the game 3-1. (You can see the goal in the Rinne video, above.)


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Guentzel’s great post-season
Put simply, Jake Guentzel has been a scoring machine in his first career playoffs. The 22-year-old rookie scored the game-winner in Game 1 and followed it up with two Game 2 markers, including another game-winning goal.

Guentzel now has five (FIVE!) game-winning goals this post-season, which is a rookie record.

His league-leading 12 playoff goals ranks him second all-time in goals scored by a rookie in a single post-season. Only Dino Ciccarelli had more (14 goals, 1981 playoffs). One or two more great games means the record could be all his.

Predators’ secret weapons
If you’ve been following the Predators throughout this post-season, you’ve probably become quite familiar with these four names: Colton Sissons, Austin Watson, Frederick Gaudreau and Pontus Aberg.

As Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman pointed out during the second intermission, the quartet has accounted for nine of the Nashville’s 12 goals during their past four games.

“They are all guys who scored at least 25 in the season in the American Hockey League. The four of them have combined for 239 American Hockey League goals,” Friedman explained during Wednesday’s Sportsnet broadcast.

“The difference between them and a lot of guys who are higher in the lineup is simply the opportunity.”

Wednesday was Aberg’s time to shine, as the 23-year-old (who has played just 15 career regular-season games) scored an absolute beauty in the first period:

Game 2 had grit
The Penguins and Predators haven’t exactly been known for their heated rivalry, but that may have changed on Wednesday night. After a relatively tame Game 1, Game 2 featured all the chippy, gritty moments we’ve come to expect during the playoffs—just ask country star Carrie Underwood, who was at the game and clearly none too pleased about Wednesday night’s officiating.

One of the biggest head-to-head battles Wednesday night? P.K. Subban vs. Sidney Crosby. Take a look:

Subban also got into a skirmish with Evgeni Malkin, which landed them both in the penalty box.

At this rate, it looks like things could reach a boiling point in Game 3.

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