Penguins 5 – Predators 3

(PIT leads series 1-0)

The Nashville Predators had the Pittsburgh Penguins on the ropes for much of the game and climbed back from a 3-0 deficit to tie the game at 3-3 in the third period and were in complete control.

A Colton Sissons power play goal at 10:21 of the third cut the Penguins lead to 3-2 and Frederick Gaudreau tied the game, 3:08 later after a blunder behind the net in two Penguins losing a winnable puck battle from Austin Watson.

Now a 3-3 game, the Penguins had gone the entire second period and third period to that point without a shot and it looked like we were all witnessing an implosion from the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Then Jake Guentzel happened, scoring a blistering shot off the rush from the right circle at 16:43 of the third period and it was 4-3 Penguins.

The Guentzel goal, his 10th of the playoffs, was the Penguins first shot in 37:09.

Nick Bonino added an empty net goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins have stolen Game 1 and are now three wins away from a second straight Stanley Cup.

The Penguins just won a Stanley Cup Final game by going over 37 minutes without a shot and having the fewest shots (12) to ever win a Stanley Cup Final game.

Nashville outshot Pittsburgh 26-12, including 15-4 over the final two periods.

How did the Penguins do it?

The Penguins led for much of the game due to a flurry of goals late in the first period, scoring three times in a 4:28 span.

Following a PK Subban opening goal being waived off, Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino scored first period goals as the Penguins scored 3 goals on their final 5 shots of the period. The Bonino goal coming with Mattias Ekholm putting the puck in his own net.

Nashville had the perfect start but the Penguins got a break with the goal being called offsides.

In striking first in the game on an Evgeni Malkin power play at 15:32 of the first period, Pittsburgh would get what was going to be a 5-on-4 situation on a Patric Hornqvist drawn penalty in the crease area that turned into a full 5-on-3 situation with James Neal getting a retaliatory penalty during the sequence.

A power play snipe by Evgeni Malkin and the flood gates opened for the Penguins in a matter of minutes in period one.

Malkin scored at 15:32, Conor Sheary burying a wide open shot off a great feed from Chris Kunitz at 16:37 and Bonino’s goal coming with 17 seconds left in the first.

In the second period, momentum went the Predators way starting with a bad penalty from Ian Cole near the Penguins bench. [hide] The Predators would then claw back in the game on a Ryan Ellis power play goal at 8:21 of the period with a great screen in front.

From there Nashville took over the game until Jake Guentzel got loose down the right side and put the Penguins ahead 4-3.

Game 2 is Wednesday night.

*Matt Murray – 23 Saves
*Jake Guentzel – Goal (10, GWG)
*Sidney Crosby – 2 Assists
*Chris Kunitz – 2 Assists
*Evgeni Malkin – Goal (8)
*Conor Sheary – Goal (1)
*Nick Bonino – 2 Goals (3,4)