The Pittsburgh Penguins are just two wins away from winning their third Stanley Cup in the past decade. Once again, the game was tied in the third period until an offensive flurry gave Pittsburgh the advantage. Jake Guentzel is following in the footsteps of Matt Murray by proving that he is no ordinary rookie in these playoffs. For the second straight game, he broke the deadlock in the third period and ended up scoring the game-winning goal. The Nashville Predators are reeling and desperately need a win here in Game 3.
Don’t miss the action on the ice from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 3, 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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The challenge system has been used by each team once to disallow a goal by their opponent in this series. In Game 1, P.K. Subban looked like he had opened the scoring in the series. Then, it was determined one of his teammates was offsides and the goal was disallowed. The same thing happened in Game 2 when the Penguins had a fifth goal cancelled out for offsides.
Under bettors sure were happy to see that last goal disallowed last night. Otherwise, it would have been a brutal beat for them. Both games in this series should have ended up under the total considering the whole run of the game. However, in Game 1 the Pens scored 3 goals in 4:11 and in Game 2 they scored 3 goals in 3:18. Aside from that, Nashville has looked like the better team for vast stretches.
Player to Watch
This has been a rough series for Pekka Rinne. Rinne is the reason that the Predators reached their first Stanley Cup Finals ever. He stonewalled Chicago, St. Louis, and Anaheim to lead Nashville to the promised land, but has not looked like that goalie here.
In the three Western Conference series, he put up a stellar .947 save percentage. Pittsburgh has fared much better against him though, with Rinne managing just a .777 save percentage thus far in the Stanley Cup Finals. Rinne was pulled for Juuse Saros after he allowed his fourth goal in Game 2. If he can’t turn it around, Nashville doesn’t stand a chance of winning the series.
It was surprising to see how often these teams were penalized in Game 2. In Game 1, each team had just 6 penalty minutes, but that figure ballooned in Game 2. The Predators tallied 19 penalty minutes and the Penguins racked up 15.
This isn’t a case where grunts have been fighting each other. The guys that picked up the penalties for Pittsburgh were Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, and Chris Kunitz. Additionally, Subban had the most penalty minutes for Nashville.
Neither team could take advantage of all these opportunities on the power play. The Predators were 0-4 on the power play, while the Penguins were 0-7.
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This is a must win game for Nashville. It’s almost impossible to come back from a 3-0 deficit and the Predators will come out like a ball of fire.
It’s not hard to find reasons to be optimistic. The Predators have been the superior team over the full course of the two games and are returning to home ice. They are 7-1 at home this postseason and Rinne should be buoyed by playing in front of hometown fans.
Amazingly, Rinne has never beaten the Penguins in a game in which he started. He is now 1-7-2 against Pittsburgh in 10 career games with the one win coming in relief. Rinne has a GAA hovering perilously close to 4 in those games and must feel he is snake bitten.
It’s about time for him to break the curse. The Predators will put the clamps on the champs in Game 3.
NHL Playoff Odds: Predators 3, Penguins 1
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