Players relish first chance to play in Cup final


Even when things briefly went south (Pittsburgh built a three-goal in a span of 4:11 late in the first period), Nashville stayed in it, responded and eventually pulled even. It's not that they don't throw punches; it's not that they don't have knockout power.

The Nashville Predators carried the play in the second period, but could not beat Pens' goalie Matthew Murray. Yes, they have been the better team.

For the first two periods of Game 2, the Predators kept the score tied at 1-1 but took numerous avoidable penalties. Now he's the biggest reason the Predators head back to "Smashville" for Game 3 on Saturday night reeling.

Then, just over three minutes later, the Predators had their second own-goal in as many games, when Vernon Fiddler's skate knocked a bouncing puck through Rinne's five-hole - the goal officially goes to Scott Wilson, but equal credit should go to Phil Kessel, who earned the assist for sneaking the puck into a risky position.

Pekka Rinne closed his eyes and went back to a happy place.

Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third period to put Pittsburgh in front for good. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

It's kind of a big deal - if convicted on all counts he could face around 6 years behind bars. Not Pontus Aberg. Not Filip Forsberg. But the Predators were in near-complete control.

Guentzel collected a long rebound off Bryan Rust's shot and fired home to make it 2-1.

A Phil Kessel shot grazed Wilson's stick before it was knocked into the net by the skates of Nashville's Vernon Fiddler. The Predators came apart some after allowing that second goal, and Pittsburgh ran them out of the building.

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Rinne entered the series with a.947 save percentage in the postseason. "You never want to give them momentum going into the intermission".

Matt Murray played spectacularly at times through the first two periods, buying his teammates enough time to find their footing and get to Rinne. "And right away the focus shifts".

Guentzel's league-leading 12 postseason goals have him two shy of Dino Ciccarelli's rookie record, and his five playoff game winners are a rookie record. Fifteen seconds later, Evgeni Malkin roared down the left wing on a two-on-one and sniped a shot far post. Every other champ since 2008 has been top four. I mean, a catfish isn't an instrument of whatever-the-hell-they're-saying-it-was, and I didn't disrupt a meeting. We would hope that in the spirit of good sportsmanship that any charges for throwing a catfish onto the ice would be quickly dismissed.

"Putting it where it was eventually wasn't that hard, because I played ball all of my life so wearing compression shorts wasn't uncomfortable", Waddell told WSMV in Nashville. In case you missed it, here is his triumphant moment. This Penguins team has elite offensive talent, and a goalie. Not being concerned on scoring goals and making plays.

NOTES: Penguins C Matt Cullen left in the first period briefly after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin.

"Yeah, for the most part liked our game", said Predators defenceman Ryan Ellis.

"We're going to win the next game and then we'll see what happens from there", Subban said. "Obviously they're going to be tough to get".

Chris Kunitz had two assists for the Penguins for a second game in a row. "There's a scrum and somebody asks you to get going, if you accept you go". The Predators outshot the Penguins 18-12 in the first and 14-7 in the second. This is the only way we may get ahead on the scoreboard in the end.