Pens Beat Predators in Game 1, 5-3

Pittsburgh is putting up 3.33 goals per game while allowing 2.70. The moment came 12:47 into the first when P.K. Subban sent a wrist shot by Murray that appeared to give the Predators the lead.

Bonino scored his second goal of the game into an empty net with 1:02 left in regulation.

Pittsburgh contended the play was offside.

The disallowed goal started a nightmare first period for the Predators that proved costly in the close affair.

That was goal No. 5 on the playoffs for Ellis, at 8:21.

It all works out to a heartbreaking series opener for Nashville.

Colton Sissons has scored on a deflection on the power play. Timely scoring. Dominating third periods.

Yet for all the resiliency the Penguins have shown during their injury-marred title defense, they are taking nothing for granted heading into Game 1 on Monday night. At one point Pittsburgh went 37 minutes without a shot on goal, but when they finally got one - 16:43 into the third period - they made it count, rookie Jake Guentzel breaking a 3-3 tie with his first goal in eight games and the game victor. The Predators put up nine shots and scored once to cut their deficit to 3-1. Rinne was charged with four goals against on 11 shots, seriously shaving his playoff-leading mark, as the opportunistic Penguins escaped with the win.

Matt Murray has given Pittsburgh reliable goaltending - something it so desperately needed - since he was called upon in last year's playoffs.

First came the catfish hurled from the stands, landing on the ice in a gory splash. And this was in Pittsburgh. The Detroit Red Wings did it last then and no team has repeated the feat. Nashville had a 5-1 win on October 22, while Pittsburgh picked up a 4-2 win on January 31. So does Evgeni Malkin skimming a two-man advantage tally off the underside of Rinne's glove, and Conor Sheary knocking a weakside one-timer into a yawning cage 65 seconds later. He was wide open at the side of the net thanks to a pass from Chris Kunitz. The Predators had what would have been the game's first goal wiped out by a coach's challenge. "Obviously, being down 3-0 on the Stanley Cup champions, coming back tying it 3-3 and having the opportunity to win the hockey game is definitely something to build on".

Pittsburgh's ability to add key pieces at reasonable prices - forwards Phil Kessel, Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin and defensemen Justin Schultz and Trevor Daley - has helped it sustain success and keep its team together for another Cup run. But Nashville entered the Stanley Cup Final playing comfortably and confidently, poise that was on display during points of the second and third periods.

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The team opened Bridgestone Arena for fans, with the line wrapping around the building.

Nashville coach Peter Laviolette's system counts on his defensemen to jump up in the play and contribute.

Pittsburgh beat the San Jose Sharks in six games a year ago.

About midway through the first, Murray got up slowly as play moved to the other end after he became tangled with teammate Ron Hainsey in the crease.

At this point we are three rounds in and starting our fourth, so as opposed to looking at the Goalies, Power play and PK during the season I am going to go with the playoffs. "We have to do a better job of finding the net", Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby lamented afterward. Subban has brought skill and energy to the Nashville blue-line, which boasts the likes of Mattias Ekholm (SWE), Roman Josi (SUI) and Yannick Weber (SUI). Predators RW Craig Smith (lower-body injury) played for the first time since May 7. Just don't call Nashville the underdog.

Game Two of the best-of-seven series is also in Pittsburgh on Wednesday before the teams head to Nashville, who are the eighth seed in the Western Conference, for the next two contests.

Just ask coach Mike Sullivan. "But after all of this time we have a pretty good understanding of how lucky we are to have this combination".

"He can sense where we're at and he has a real grasp of the history of the game", Cullen said. It was the first goal of the postseason for Sheary, who struggled enough that he was scratched twice during the Eastern Conference final.

There was a time three or four years ago that Pekka Rinne (FIN) was perennially considered one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League. Nashville's is in the back.

"I understand the severity of what I did and I take full responsibility for my actions", Woods said in a statement Monday evening.


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