Penguins chase Pekka Rinne with third period outburst

That, above everything, they have. But it was something that Evgeni Malkin reportedly said to the Nashville Predators defenceman that sparked a late-game fight. Yes, they have been the better team. That wasn't the case with their execution however, as they now trail 2-0 in the series after losing 4-1 in the second game. "I thought I was OK in Game 1".

"When we come with that kind of hunger and come out with those shifts and start building on it, that's when we become a really good team", veteran Penguins center Matt Cullen said.

"I think that's just part of ... the process of being in a seven-game series".

Guarantees in sports are ridiculous because nobody can guarantee a damned thing, and besides, it would mean knowing Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne isn't in the middle of a collapse.

The Penguins responded from there just minutes later when Jake Guentzel beat Rinne on a rebound. Save for a bumpy stretch near the end of the first period where the Penguins scored three times, Nashville did exactly what it wanted to do.

In both of their losses to the Penguins this series, the Predators have allowed at least four goals, but Subban said his team is still in a good mental state, despite its season inching closer to the brink.

Pittsburgh stayed in it thanks to Matt Murray (37 saves) and when Pittsburgh returned to the ice for the start of the third they, as coach Mike Sullivan is fond of saying, "got to their game".

Then again, the way Game 1 went, there's no telling what might happen in Game 2. The Predators controlled the pace and the puck, just not the scoreboard. Guentzel, at the right post, took two whacks at a rebound of a Conor Sheary shot.

There were no goals scored in the second period but the Penguins made up for that in the third by scoring three times in the first three minutes and 28 seconds to take a 4-1 lead and send Rinne to the bench to watch backup Saros finish it off.

Guentzel snapped an eight-game goalless drought to help the defending champions escape after blowing a three-goal lead. Nashville is 7-2 in the playoffs when scoring first, and this time it counted after a coach's challenge for offside wiped out a goal that would've given the Predators the lead in Game 1.

What doesn't is that Rinne is the weak spot, and this is how Pittsburgh wins.

The teams come off a weird Game 1 that featured a questionable offside review wiping out a goal by P.K. Subban, a Predators fan throwing a catfish onto the ice and the Penguins enduring a 37-minute shot drought and scoring the victor on the next shot they took. Every other champ since 2008 has been top four. The most frustrating aspect about playing the Penguins, as Rinne and Nashville have discovered, is that although they can make mistakes and bungle chances and put their own goalie in untenable positions, all those problems can be rendered irrelevant by a few swipes of a stick. "We need to be better in front of him".

I'm not saying Subban was intimate with Crosby, but I bet he could tell you what Crosby had for the pregame meal. You read Twitter and you see the pictures.

The outburst marked a turnaround for a Penguins team that had been struggling on offence. We score one, we don't stop. If he continues to play at this level they have no chance.

With his two goals in Game 2, Guentzel now has 12 in the playoffs, which is just two short of the rookie record set by Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars in 1981.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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