Penguins explode in third, take 2-0 series lead on Preds

Nashville Predators fans cheer as they watch Game 1 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals at one of several viewing areas set up Monday

Penguins explode in third, take 2-0 series lead on Preds

The three-goal explosion from the highest scoring team in hockey during the regular season - occurring in three minutes and 28 seconds - mirrored the first period in Game 1 when the Penguins busted out for three in less than five minutes.

The Predators had 38 shots to the Penguins' 27, but Rinne allowed four goals on 25 shots and got the hook in favor of backup Juuse Saros in the third period. Nashville Predators' Pontus Aberg (46) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with P.K. Subban (76) during the first period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh. "I didn't like what he said, so I said something back to him and then we went". Asked whether his confidence was intact, Rinne said, "Of course, when you lose a couple games and get pulled you're not happy how things went, but you've got to put those things behind and focus on the things you can control".

Moving to Music City: The series now shifts to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

"He's really smart", Crosby said. "We're going to feed off that energy and we're going to be ready".

And Murray's composure in the crease means a lot to the Penguins, who take a 2-0 series lead to Nashville. If Game 1 was an unfortunate showing due to some extremely wacky circumstances, Game 2 was the complete opposite for the Predators. Rinne had been 4-0 with a.960 save percentage in games after losses. If the Penguins continue to steamroll their way through the final, the only thing that might prevent Guentzel from breaking both the overall goals and points records would be a dearth of games.

"You have to put it behind you", Rinne said.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the ice, Matt Murray entered the playoffs watching from the press box after suffering an injury eight minutes before Game 1 of the first round.

"For me, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity", Rinne said "I've played a long time and this is my first time having a chance to play for the Cup". How do you think the rest of the series will unfold?

It hasn't been easy against Pittsburgh.

The Nashville Predators need a victory here in order to have any realistic chance of winning this series. At the very least, he needs to go to a place where Jake Guentzel, who scored twice, doesn't exist.

Rinne is now winless in five career starts at Pittsburgh and looking to change his luck in Nashville where the Predators are 7-1 in the playoffs.

"Our building is great, the atmosphere is great", head coach Peter Laviolette said. "There's things that we could've done — all three goals in the third period were odd-man rushes".

The game was tied at 1-1 through two tight periods on 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.

Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third period to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

Malkin scored for the second consecutive game on Wednesday night and boosted his playoff-leading point total to 26. At 3:13 Phil Kessel sent a shot toward the net from the right wing that glanced off teammate Scott Wilson, then hit the skate of Nashville's Vern Fiddler and went under Predators goalkeeper Pekka Rinne's pads for a 3-1 lead. Three minutes later he couldn't handle a Scott Wilson rebound on a two-on-one that bounced in off teammate Vern Fiddler, off his hoof; and 15 seconds after that Rinne got beat clean by Malkin on a lovely shot on another two-on-one.

"It's not the situation we wanted coming here", said Rinne.

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