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NHL's Penguins take 2-0 Stanley Cup lead

NHL's Penguins take 2-0 Stanley Cup lead

The game at PPG Paints Arena was tied at 1-1 through two tight periods after goals by Pontus Aberg and Guentzel, but it took just 10 seconds of the third for Guentzel - who scored the victor in game one - to get his second of the night and 12th of the playoffs.

That was all the Penguins needed to earn a 4-1 win and grab a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final, which will resume Saturday with Game 3 in Nashville. Pittsburgh scored soon after to make it 3-1, a goal that was credited to Scott Wilson, who got a piece of the puck before it went off the skate of Nashville forward Vernon Fiddler and between Rinne's pads.

Jake Guentzel scored 10 seconds into the period.

It was enough for Nashville coach Peter Laviolette to send in backup goalie Juuse Saros to replace Rinne, who had stopped 21-of-25 shots.

In five of the six periods played so far in this wild, wacky Stanley Cup Final, the better team wasn't the one that has a two-games-to-none lead.

"I don't know, we just find ways to win, whether we're leading late in a game, whether we're trailing, whether we're up a bunch, down a bunch, I think we play the same way, we try to get wins", said centre Nick Bonino. Nashville Predators' Craig Smith (15) jokes with teammate Brad Hunt during NHL hockey practice before Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, May 31, 2017.

There to thwart their early opportunities was Rinne.

(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic). Pittsburgh Penguins' Ian Cole, center, checks Nashville Predators' Mike Fisher (12) in front of Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) during the first period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. Defenseman P.K. Subban pointed to the response after falling behind by three as proof the stage is not too big. Down on the ice in obvious discomfort, Subban grabbed his neck and required attention from the team trainer when he finally returned to the bench.




The Penguins matched their entire shot total from the opener (12) by the end of the first period but still found themselves trying to keep up with the Predators. They never took what could have been deemed a bad penalty, and that has them heading to Nashville for Game 3 up 2-0 in the Stanley Cup Final. The former second round pick undressed Maatta on a drive to the net and then out-waited Murray for the 1-0 lead. The 14th was Boston in 2011, which got more or less the greatest goaltending season in history from Tim Thomas, before he was slightly better in the playoffs. The 23-year-old was among 17 Preds with at least one goal this spring. Pittsburgh went 37 minutes without a shot on goal, and won. The Stanley Cup newbies were disappointed but not dismayed by their Game 1 loss, pointing to the way they carried play for long stretches as tangible proof they weren't just happy to be here.

"None of us in our dressing room is fooled by the score tonight", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.

"It's insane", Guentzel said of his two big games this series after an eight-game goal drought.

The Predators biggest advantage in the series was their vaunted defence and like in Game 1, it seemed to be paying dividends in Game 2. Rinne stopped just seven shots.

"I mean, (analytics are) a part of it now", said Sidney Crosby.

None of that mattered when Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third, slamming home a juicy Rinne rebound.

Rinne kicked a Bryan Rust rebound to the slot where Guentzel scored his 12th of the playoffs and second of the game. Mired in an eight-game goal drought heading into the series, the 22-year-old Nebraskan provided the victor in Game 1 and again in Game 2 when he pounded home a rebound just 10 seconds into the third for his third of the series and 12th of the playoffs. But the difference in the series has been goaltending and Rinne, specifically, getting outplayed by Murray.


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