Penguins look to maintain identity in Game 3

An ice worker removes a fish during the second period of Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators on Monday

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators battled it out in game two of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Penguins coming out on top. He made 31 of his 37 saves in Game 2 through the first two periods, none more important than the six shots he turned aside in the final 39 seconds of the first period after the Penguins had tied the game at 1 on Guentzel's first goal at 16:36. If the Penguins want to win this series, their power play has to improve. Then it's way too much. The Penguins beat Rinne four times on just 11 shots in Game 1 and scored three goals on 25 shots Wednesday for a 2-0 series lead.

The barrage started with rookie Jake Guentzel. The Penguins scored just 10 seconds into the period when Guentzel scored his second of the game off of a perfectly-placed rebound. Maybe I can even put it on the line in a hallway game against my brothers? "We're going to win the next game and we'll see what happens from there".

If the Predators don't get it together back home in "Smashville", it might only be two. The 34-year-old spent the first three rounds of the playoffs helping carry Nashville to the Final for the first time.

But the Preds can't take back those minutes and, consequently, are down two games to none heading into Game 3. 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.

Rinne has earned the right to play this series out. Against Pittsburgh, it's at.777 and he remains winless in his career against the Penguins in games he's started.

"I'm sure they'll hear the noise and the energy in the building", Subban said of the Penguins.

Coach Peter Laviolette said after Game 2 that he would not discuss the Predators' lineup, including whether or not Rinne has warranted a permanent seat on the bench.

Asked twice afterward if he was committed to starting Rinne on Saturday, Laviolette stressed Rinne has been "terrific", adding there are plenty of things the Predators can do better in front of him like stopping the odd-man rushes that allowed the Penguins to take charge. In Game 2, they had as many shots in the first period (12) as they did total in the previous game.

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Rinne is now 1-7-2 lifetime against Pittsburgh - his lone win came in relief at Nashville - and he entered the series with a.880 save percentage and a 3.57 goals-against average. The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay.

It was a deficit that was equaled in game two thanks to another Pittsburgh flurry. And it was once again led by the baby-faced son of a coach who has no problem shouldering the responsibility of playing alongside star Sidney Crosby. He's giving up almost four goals a game in those contests, exactly the number he allowed in both games one and two. Guentzel pounced on a rebound from Pekka Rinne, and just passed it into the net past the goaltender. Nashville pulled Rinne after Malkin's goal, putting in backup Juuse Saros in relief.

"We're capable of playing even better than we did in Pittsburgh, and I thought we played some great hockey", Subban said. Every time we heard that it was time to go to bed, we played one more game.

The Penguins struggled to make clean zone entries through the earlier portions of the game but opened the third with conviction, determined to create more opportunities, and it showed with both their entries and focused play. "He had a good game tonight so we moved him up with Sid".

Ninety percent of teams with that advantage have gone on to win the Cup.

Nick Bonino, after blocking a P.K. Subban shot with his left ankle in the first period, appeared to be injured but returned for the start of the second period. The Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to play Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanle.

Here's the insane thing about the Penguins 23-year-old goalie, who backstopped them to the Cup last year: He's still a rookie.

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