The Penguins make a change, Nick Bonino can't go after blocking a shot in Game 2 in the foot, so Carl Hagelin gets a sweater for the game. Carter Rowney rotates over to the center position.
Lined up and ready for Game Three. Let's Go Pens! pic.twitter.com/q8KyTFEWS1— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 4, 2017
The crowd is loud but the Pens strike first just 2:46 in. Sidney Crosby passes back to the point for Ian Cole who fires it on net. The embattled Pekka Rinne makes the stop but kicks the rebound out for Jake Guentzel and woo boy that's the rookie's 13th goal of the playoffs.
Guentzel's 13 playoff goals top the NHL leaderboard. No rookie has led the playoffs outright since the NHL took control of the Cup in 1926. pic.twitter.com/DyKrc9ZVT4— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) June 4, 2017
Pittsburgh gets a power play, doesn't score but still has Sid doing #SidThings
Crosby's stickhandling is surreal. pic.twitter.com/u6pe8QZ7L9— Sean Tierney (@ChartingHockey) June 4, 2017
The Predators respond with 2 goals 42 seconds to take control of the game. First it's Roman Josi scoring a power play goal that deflects off the stick of Carter Rowney and by Matt Murray to tie the game.
Josi ties it up on the power play pic.twitter.com/3GcaHs81r6— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2017
Frederick Gaudreau then gives Nashville the lead when Ian Cole looses his gap a little and doesn't do enough to step up to him, and uses that as a screen. 2-1
Freddy Hockey gives Nashville the lead pic.twitter.com/eMdVTIIGBr— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2017
The Pens can't escape the period, pucks and bodies going to the net and they get a bounce and it's James Neal being Johnny on the spot to find it and toss it past Murray to make it 3-1 late in a backbreaker.
The Pens give up 2 clean breakaways with Ron Hainsey on the ice. The first one Murray saves, the second one after a neutral zone turnover by Chris Kunitz ends up on the stick of Colin Wilson and he makes no mistakes to snap it quickly past the glove of Murray to make the score 4-1.
Kunitz skates into Kessel, gives Craig Smith a breakaway…4-1 Predators pic.twitter.com/pLuwo1Ra52— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2017
Conor Sheary gets a great scoring chance on the side of the net but Rinne denies him.
On a 4v4 shift the Pens toss Crosby and Malkin out there and both take penalties. Not ideal! Mattias Ekholm (on a 5v4 due to a coincidental) hammers a puck past Murray to make it 5-1.
Ekholm hammers one and it’s 5-1 Preds pic.twitter.com/8PA1w1jBmJ— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) June 4, 2017
A little pushing and shoving and that's it.
- In the first 2 periods Crosby and Malkin combined for 0 shots on goal and 1 shot attempt (Crosby's, it was blocked). No sense in piling on them and these guys will be better when you need them but they need to look to find more ways to shoot next time out, obviously.
- The power play also let the Pens down going 0 for 3 on the night early when the game was in question and not even really generating any chances. Skilled power plays by definition are streaky and this one needs to not press but be more forceful to find a way to create more.
- This one didn't go the Pens way, but big picture they can still achieve an objective by splitting the 2 early road games with a win next game. Won't be easy but they'll need to adjust and regroup for Monday night.
Never fun to lose in June, but unless there's a sweep they would have to lose at some point. Doesn't really matter to lose 2-1 on a heartbreaker or 100-1, still counts the same. Great game for Nashville, not a good game for the Pens. Time to regroup and get back after it next time around.