GUENTZEL AGAIN PLAYS THE HERO AS PENGUINS TAKE 2-0 SERIES LEAD
The Pittsburgh Penguins scored three times in the opening 3:28 of the third period -- including the go-ahead goal by Jake Guentzel (2-0-2) 10 seconds into the frame -- to break a 1-1 tie en route to a 4-1 win against the Nashville Predators to take a 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final.
* Guentzel, who scored the decisive goal with 3:17 remaining in Game 1, scored his NHL-leading fifth game-winning goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs (21 GP) to set an NHL rookie record for a single playoff year. Claude Lemieux (Montreal Canadiens) and Chris Drury (Colorado Avalanche) previously shared the record, with four each in 1986 and 1999, respectively.
* Guentzel became the second rookie to score consecutive game-winning goals in the Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took sole possession of the trophy in 1926-27 -- and the first to do so in 78 years. The other: Roy Conacher, who scored the winner for the Boston Bruins in Games 3, 4 and 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1939.
* Guentzel scored his League-leading 11th and 12th goals of the postseason, the second-most by a rookie in one playoff year behind Dino Ciccarelli (Minnesota North Stars) in 1981 (14 in 19 GP). No rookie has led the NHL outright in playoff goal-scoring since the League took control of the Stanley Cup in 1926-27.
* Guentzel, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, also set records for goals (12) and points (19) by a U.S.-born rookie in one playoff year, surpassing the marks shared by Jeremy Roenick of the Chicago Blackhawks (11-7-18 in 20 GP in 1990) and Joe Mullen of the St. Louis Blues (7-11-18 in 10 GP in 1982).
* Guentzel ranks fourth with 19 points (12 goals, seven assists) this postseason, two points shy of matching the NHL record for a rookie in a single playoff year - set by Ciccarelli in 1981 (14-7-21 in 19 GP) and equaled by Ville Leino (Philadelphia Flyers) in 2010 (7-14-21 in 19 GP).
Video: Three-goal 3rd lifts Pens to 4-1 win in Game 2
Home Team in Caps
PITTSBURGH 4, Nashville 1 -- PIT leads 2-0
DID YOU KNOW?
Jake Guentzel's goal 10 seconds into the third period was one second shy of the fastest to begin any period in Stanley Cup Final history. The record of 0:09 was set by Montreal's Brian Skrudland in overtime of Game 2 in 1986 at CGY.
Guentzel's second goal also stood as the fastest to begin any period in Penguins playoff history. The previous record of 12 seconds was set by Sidney Crosby on April 14, 2008 at the Ottawa Senators (3rd period) and matched by Crosby in Game 1 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Second Round at the Washington Capitals (2nd period).
MURRAY JOINS RARE COMPANY
Matt Murray made 37 saves to improve to 20-7 in his first 28 NHL playoff appearances (1.95 GAA, .928 SV%, 2 SO). Via Elias, only two goaltenders in NHL history have required fewer games to reach 20 postseason wins: Montreal's Bill Durnan (26 GP, 1944-47) and Patrick Roy (27 GP, 1986-88).
GAME 2 TRENDS
* Since the Final went to the best-of-7 format in 1939, teams that have taken a 2-0 series lead have gone on to win the Stanley Cup 90.0 percent of the time (45 of 50 series) -- including each of the past three instances (2012 LAK, 2014 LAK and 2016 PIT).
* Home teams have swept the opening two games of the Stanley Cup Final 37 times in that span, ultimately winning the championship 34 times (91.9%). Two of those losses, however, have come in the past eight years: 2009 (PIT @ DET) and 2011 (BOS @ VAN).
The Predators lost consecutive games for the first time since April 2-4 . . . Penguins forward Chris Kunitz (0-2-2) had his third straight multi-point performance (2-5-7) . . . Teammate Evgeni Malkin (1-0-1) earned his League-leading 26th point of the postseason (9-17-26 in 21 GP) . . . The Penguins picked up their fifth consecutive home win and ninth of the playoffs, equaling a single-year franchise record . . . ICYMI: Fans voted the 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers, 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings and 1982-83 New York Islanders as Nos. 5, 6 and 7, respectively, on the list of Greatest NHL Teams . . . The Predators announced that Grammy- and CMA-winning singer/songwriter Alan Jackson will play a free concert on Lower Broadway prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final in Nashville.
NHL SCOUTING COMBINE CONTINUES IN BUFFALO
The 2017 NHL Scouting Combine presented by adidas, featuring 104 of the top-ranked players eligible for the 2017 NHL Draft, is underway this week at KeyBank Center and HarborCenter in Buffalo. The annual event consists of player interviews, medical assessments and a series of fitness tests.
ICYMI: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL) forward Nolan Patrick, the No. 1-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, recounted his interview with the New Jersey Devils, who hold the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Nashville, PIT leads 2-0, 8 p.m., NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports
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