Penguins heavy favorites against Senators for Thursday's Game 7 matchup

Ross Houston
May 31, 2017

Maybe that's the way the Pittsburgh Penguins should look at their 4-3 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. After taking a 3-0 lead in the first period, Pittsburgh gave up three straight goals when they went 36 minutes and 43 seconds without a shot on net. What first looked like a 1-0 lead for the Predators was now a 3-0 Penguins lead thanks to three Penguins' goals in the final five minutes of the period.

When Guentzel ended an eight-game goalless drought and Nick Bonino picked up his second goal on an empty-netter, the Penguins were in control as they try to become the first team since Detroit in 1998 to win back-to-back Cups.

The Penguins had no shots on goal in the second period after the catfish incident. Shortly thereafter, Frederick Gaudreau tied the game with his first goal of the playoffs. But Rinne couldn't stop the only shot he faced on a 5-on-3 powerplay to open the scoring for the Pens, and was about a month late on his rent to stop Jake Guentzel's game victor.

In the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins make the Stanley Cup finals yet again. Dumoulin, a 2009 second round pick by the Hurricanes, has emerged as one of the Penguins most reliable defensemen and leads the team in ice time this postseason at 21:49 per game (Hainsey is second at 21:08). Fisher and Smith took part in the team's morning skate Monday at PPG Paints Arena.

That it was Guentzel who scored the victor seemed fitting.

His words were barely two hours old when a controversial call disallowed a goal from Nashville's P.K. Subban to open up the series.

The defending champs went 37 minutes without recording a shot on goal, and Laviolette's Predators chipped away at the lead until it was tied. Not even on the power play. Enjoying a five-on-three advantage, Evgeni Malkin blasted a point shot past Rinne at 15:32. He came in with a 1-5-2 career record against them with a 3.57 goals-against average and an.880 save percentage. And to cap it off, as the period died Pittsburgh's Nick Bonino drove the zone and flipped a soft one-handed backhand to the net, and Rinne's goal stick sent a ideal pass to Ekholm's thigh, and the puck bounced back in with 17 seconds left: 3-0 Penguins after one period, just as it was presumably supposed to be, or something. Losing the game is the bad news, the good news is that Rinne bounces back very well after that type of performance. That's just what we do. And with just 16.1 seconds left in the first, Rinne poked Bonino's centering pass and the deflected puck bounced off Mattias Ekholm and into the goal.

But Penguins' coach Mike Sullivan had faith that the winger would come through. His shot from the top of the slot glided just over Rinne's left pad. "We just have to stay positive".

Before this season, the Preds had never even made it to the conference finals, much less having a chance to play for Lord Stanley's Cup. Nashville scores first goal, goal is challenged and reversed due to an offside call that I still haven't seen a good angle on, or at least one good enough to overturn the call on the ice... which is the standard. The Predators have outshot the Penguins 14-0 since falling behind 3-0 with 17 seconds remaining in the first period.

"I know we were the eighth seed but we didn't feel like a group that we were", Fisher said.

Meanwhile, Nashville fans heralded Waddell as a hometown hero for throwing the fish, which according to Pittsburgh's CBS affiliate, Waddell brought from Nashville and smuggled into the arena by vacuum-sealing it and shoving it down a pair of compression shorts.

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