PITTSBURGH -- The Nashville Predators lost Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday when the Pittsburgh Penguins scored three goals in the first 3:28 of the third period to turn a tie into a 4-1 win.
But it could easily be argued the game was lost for the Predators long before that.
Nashville rookie Pontus Aberg scored on a great individual effort at 12:57 of the first period to give the Predators a 1-0 lead, and the Penguins appeared to reeling.
The situation was ripe for the Predators to stake an early claim on a game they needed to tie the best-of-7 series 1-1. Instead, the Penguins are up 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Nashville on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).
Here is a breakdown of a moment when the game might not have been lost for the Predators but definitely one when the game could have been won:
[RELATED: Complete Penguins vs. Predators series coverage | Rosen: Penguins' quick-strike ability leads to Game 2 win]
13:42, first period
Penguins center Matt Cullen makes a nice play to strip the puck from Predators forward Craig Smith and has time to alleviate what has been consistent pressure from Nashville by clearing the zone and getting a change. His clearing attempt is tipped by Chris Kunitz along the boards and makes it past the blue line, but it is picked off in the neutral zone by Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.
Subban immediately feeds it cross ice to his defense partner Mattias Ekholm, who enters the zone with speed, wheels around the Pittsburgh net, and sets up Frederick Gaudreau with a chance in the slot. But Ekholm's pass is on Gaudreau's backhand, otherwise he would have had a great chance to score. Instead, Gaudreau's backhand goes into a crowd of bodies and bounces near center Calle Jarnkrok to the left of Penguins goalie Matt Murray.
Jarnkrok gathers the puck, spins and shoots toward a half-open net with Murray down and out of the play. What happened next was unknown to Jarnkrok and Murray; all each knew was it didn't go in.
"I didn't know where it went," Jarnkrok said. "I'm not sure where it hit."
"I'm not sure," Murray said. "I know which one you're talking about, but I don't think I touched it. I think it hit the post."
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Murray sprawls across to rob Jarnkrok
In fact, Jarnkrok's shot glanced off Murray's mask as he was laying on the ground and trying to recover, with almost the entire net open, then bounces off Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz and toward the corner.
"I was standing in front of the net and then I got that bounce to the right side," Jarnkrok said. "I just got to the puck and tried to hit the net. But he was in the way today. I just turned around and tried to hit the net. I didn't even look, I just turned around and shot it. Obviously, he saved it. Good save by him."
Murray was still scrambling when Ekholm got to that rebound near the side boards and immediately shot it toward the net with the short side open, but Murray grabbed it with his glove, largely because Ekholm's shot went right to him instead of the open side.
The Predators lead remains 1-0.
Predators defenseman Roman Josi is called for cross-checking Kunitz deep in the Nashville zone.
As the Penguins power play is expiring, Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson gets the puck behind his own net and tries to clear it around the boards. But Arvidsson does not get enough on it, and the puck is intercepted by Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta, who sends it back behind the net to Conor Sheary. He sends it up to Kunitz, takes a return pass and puts a shot on goal from a very sharp angle.
Predators goalie Pekka Rinne makes a pad save but leaves the rebound right in front of him for Penguins forward Jake Guentzel, who scores when he lifts a shot that somehow finds space between Rinne and the goal post.
"Conor made a good play, put it on net," Guentzel said. "Just trying to throw it on net and see what happens. Somehow it squeaked through."
A potential 2-0 lead turned into a tie game until the Penguins put it away in the third period. It all turned on what looked like a very lucky save and a pretty lucky goal.
"Sometimes you get those bounces, sometimes you don't," Predators defenseman Ryan Elllis said. "They're capitalizing on their chances, and I think we need to start doing a little bit more of that."
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Guentzel threads a rebound by Rinne