Penguins beat Predators 4-1, take 2-0 lead

Since Mike Sullivan took over behind the Penguins' bench in December 2015, his team has dropped four of five on just two occasions-immediately after former coach Mike Johnston's firing and during a four-game slide this March that included two shootout losses.

Guentzel, who played college hockey at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, was unknown to Crosby before the season began but finished behind only Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine in goals and points per game among rookies (16 goals, 33 points in 40 games).

Instead, I'll tell you how the Penguins are going to even get better as they close this one out on their way to riding through Downtown with tickertape streaming down. The old cliche "a series doesn't get real until a team loses at home" is one of the better and more true in hockey.

"It's insane", Guentzel said.

"You have to put it behind you", he said. It's going to be fun to watch, but if you're the Predators, you can't let your adrenaline backfire on you. "For me, I treat this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

This is not only his first appearance in the Cup final, but also the first time he reached the final four. He was 1 of 8 through two periods.

The quick goal surge was enough for Nashville coach Peter Laviolette to send in backup goalie Juuse Saros in to replace Rinne, but the Penguins wouldn't have minded scoring more. He's the reason the Predators swept the Blackhawks and why the Blues had so much trouble scoring in the latter half of their series.

But Pittsburgh is not Chicago. Of those, 90 percent went on to win the Stanley Cup, including Pittsburgh last season. They work hard and get bounces.

The series resumes on Saturday in Nashville. But the difference in the series has been goaltending and Rinne, specifically, getting outplayed by Murray.

So much for Pekka Rinne and the Conn Smythe Trophy conversation. "So we just thought if we cut his minutes, we'd get more productive minutes from him", Sullivan said. "We're looking at ourselves".

Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third period to put Pittsburgh in front for good. It's a team game, and everyone looks at shots and save percentage but forget about the quality and who we're playing.

Bonino, who scored in Game 1, took the puck to the left foot or ankle and could not put weight on it as he was helped off the ice. Nashville's Pontus Aberg and Guentzel scored in the first for a 1-1 tie that carried into the third. "I've played a long time, and this is my first time having a chance to play for the Cup, so I think you just have to bury these two games and move ahead and just find a way to find some success". This one would have been Pittsburgh's fifth goal of the game and thus didn't materially affect the outcome.

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As a starter, Rinne is now 0-9 against the Penguins. Rinne was chased from the Nashville net, and Pittsburgh took Game 2 by a 4-1 final. But the Evgeni Malkin goal on a rush up ice ended Rinne's night nevertheless.

That's not really a stat, but before regaining his touch against Nashville, Guentzel only had two assists in seven games against the Senators that had head coach Mike Sullivan pondering scratching the young forward.

The Predators are going home for Game 3 to perhaps the loudest arena in hockey at the moment, where tickets on the secondary market are going for astronomical prices.

Meanwhile, Nashville fans heralded Waddell as a hometown hero for throwing the fish, which, Waddell said he brought from Nashville and smuggled into the arena by vacuum-sealing it and shoving it down a pair of compression shorts. Eight of the last nine have gone six or seven games. Tough to say too many good things about him now.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Matt Murray, left, Jake Guentzel, center, and Brian Dumoulin celebrate after the Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators 4-1 in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

"At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens", said Subban. That's it. It's done. A fourth goal would be added empty-net style, and that would seal the deal for Pittsburgh to walk away with game-one in hand, and momentum for game-two to come on Wednesday.

"He has a calming presence back there for us", Penguins defenseman Ian Cole said.

Penalties - Aberg Nash (slashing) 4:51; Crosby Pgh (interference) 9:20; Malkin Pgh (roughing, served by Wilson) 12:14; Subban Nash, Malkin Pgh (fighting) 12:14; McLeod Nash (interference) 18:01; Kunitz Pgh (slashing) 18:29.

"No, I can't translate for you".

"Well, I think the Pens have a lot more skill than the Predators".

He's 1-5-2 with a 3.57 GAA and.880 save percentage in eight regular-season games against Pittsburgh. "That's going to continue every time he's out there".

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