Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals lived up to the hype. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators played an exciting game of cat and mouse that ended with the hometown crowd going home happy. Pittsburgh is now just three wins away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions and a win in Game 2 will put them in great position to win it all again. Nashville will try to stop them and send the series back to its place tied at one.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Catch every moment of the game live on NBCSN. We will have NHL playoff hockey odds at BookMaker.eu for every Stanley Cup Finals game.
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This game had no business cruising over the total. These teams combined for just 38 shots on goal, but eight times the red light went off behind the net. Pittsburgh ended up being ruthlessly efficient with 5 goals on 12 shots, but don’t let the Penguins victory fool you.
Nashville was the much better team in Game 1. The Predators dominated 45 minutes of the game and held the Penguins without a shot for over 37 minutes at one point. It was an incredible stretch considering the Penguins offensive might and showed that the Predators have what it takes to win the series. Pittsburgh won’t win a game like that again.
Matchup to Watch
It was incredible to watch Nashville’s defense completely shut down Pittsburgh’s offense for a long stretch of Monday night’s game. The Predators have been hailed as having one of the best defenses in recent memory during this playoff run and that was on full display in Game 1.
Nashville was able to hold the Penguins in check by controlling the puck and forcing turnovers in Pittsburgh’s zone. Whereas Nashville was able to bring the puck from blue line to blue line with relative ease, Pittsburgh had real problems doing so. All too often the Penguins couldn’t get it in the zone and weren’t effective with the dump and chase.
Perhaps even more troubling were the continuing struggles of the defense. Olli Maatta has been a disaster on the blue line for the Penguins and Ian Cole had a poor performance as well. Maatta has continually turned the puck over in his own end and Cole committed a stupid penalty that led to a goal for Nashville. The Pens defense has to play better in Game 2.
Nashville finally got some production out of its power play. The Predators were just 2-22 on the power play against Anaheim and can’t afford that against the Penguins. Pittsburgh is just too good on offense to not eventually score and that means Nashville has to make the most of its opportunities.
The Predators have good distributors like Mike Fisher and P.K. Subban and should have success in this series on the man advantage.
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Subban and the Predators got off to an ominous start in Game 1. It looked like he had tallied the first goal of the series, but it was overturned after a challenge by Pittsburgh. The replay determined that the play was barely offsides and the goal was disallowed. It foreshadowed a series of unfortunate events for Nashville in this game.
Nashville was a +140 underdog in Game 1 and should be about that in Game 2. The Predators were very unlucky to have lost that game with how well they played and a lot of the loss can be chalked up to luck. An own goal, an overturned goal, and a shot that Pekka Rinne just missed snagging helped give Pittsburgh the win in Game 1. Nashville was the better team though, so wager on them as an underdog again in Game 2.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Penguins 2
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