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Stanley Cup Final Game 2 Live Blog: Predators vs Penguins

Pittsburgh uses 3-goal third period to take 2-0 series lead

NHL.com @NHL

Welcome to Game 2 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.

NHL.com Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke was in PPG Paints Arena to provide the sights, sounds and news throughout the game. The Penguins, aftertheir 5-3 victory on Monday, led the best-of-7 series 1-0.

 

11:10 p.m.

That's it, another dominant stretch has carried the Pittsburgh Penguins to victory.

This time it was the first 3:18 of the second period as the Penguins scored three times to break a tie and win 4-1 at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 2-0. Game 3 is Saturday in Nashville (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

Fifty teams have taken a 2-0 series lead since the Final went to the best-of-7 format in 1939. Of those clubs, 45 (90 percent) have gone on to claim the Stanley Cup, including the Penguins last season.

Jake Guentzel, with his second goal of the game, Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin scored the third-period goals.

Guentzel's goal came 10 seconds in, setting a record for fastest Penguin goal to start a period in the playoffs. He now has 12 goals, the second-most by a rookie in Stanley Cup Playoff history. He trails Dino Ciccarelli by two goals. Guentzel, who scored the winner in Game 1, has 19 points, the most by an American rookie in playoff history. He has three goals this series.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Jake Guentzel scored the game-winning goal for a 2nd straight game to set a rookie record for GWGs in a single postseason (5). #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/DPXLcddgbJ

Wilson got credit for the second goal, although the puck bounced off the knee pad of forward Vernon Fiddler, the second own goal in as many games against the Predators.

Malkin ended the blitz with a perfectly placed wrister on the shift after Wilson's goal, 15 seconds later.

That goal chased Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who has allowed four goals in each of the first two games. He was replaced by rookie Juuse Saros.

Pontus Aberg scored Nashville's only goal. Penguins goalie Matt Murray earned the win, his 20th in 27 Stanley Cup Playoff decisions.

Tweet from @NHL: This guy's been good. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/DVdsHt2e6w

 

10:30 p.m.

The third period of Game 2 is under way, and the Pittsburgh Penguins have taken a 4-1 lead. First, Jake Guentzel scored 10 seconds into the period for his 12th goal of the postseason.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Jake Guentzel���s goal 0:10 into 3rd was 0:01 shy of fastest to start a period in #StanleyCup Final history (0:09��� Skrudland, OT in 1986 GM 2) pic.twitter.com/6C2i0weTfb

Guentzel slammed home the long rebound of a shot by Bryan Rust on the rush off the opening faceoff.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Guentzel buries a rebound for second

With the goal, Guentzel moves into sole possession of second place among rookie goal scorers in the playoffs with his 12th, passing Jeremy Roenick and Brad Marchand. Dino Ciccarelli is the leader with 14.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Wilson tips a puck home off Fiddler

The Penguins made it 3-1 at 3:13 on goal by Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin scored 15 seconds later to make it 4-1 and chase Nasvhille goalie Pekka Rinne.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Malkin goes bar-down to pad lead

 

10:10 p.m.

At the end of two periods, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators are tied 1-1. 

It is the first of the five periods played not to feature a goal. The goals in this game were each scored in the first period.

Tweet from @NHL: Where we're at. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/C6pXJHrJAg

Pittsburgh's Matt Murray was the busier of the two goalies in the period, making 14 saves. He has 31 for the game. Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne made seven saves in the second and has 18 in the game.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Murray flashes the leather on Josi

 

9:45 p.m.

Score remains 1-1 between the Predators and the Penguins midway through the second period.

Nashville has had the better of the play so far in the second period, but can't find a goal.

Filip Forsberg had perhaps the best chance, but his wrist shot on a 2-on-1 was saved by the glove of Penguins goalie Matt Murray.

For the Penguins, Jake Guentzel is having himself quite the playoffs. He has the Penguins goal in Game 2 and now has 11 this postseason, tying Jeremy Roenick, now and analyst for NBCSN, and Brad Marchand of the Boston Bruins for second in playoff goals by a rookie. Only Dino Ciccarelli of the Washington Capitals, who had 14 in 1981. He is also tied with Roenick and Joey Mullen for the most points (18) by an American-born rookie.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Most PTS by a U.S.-born rookie in a postseason:Joe Mullen: 7-11���18 (1982)@Jeremy_Roenick: 11-7���18 (1990)@jakenbake20: 11-7���18#StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/io00EYZSSN

 

9:30 p.m.

We're ready for the second period of Game 2, the scored tied 1-1 between the Nashville Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh center Nick Bonino has returned to the bench for the start of the period.

Bonino was injured when he blocked Nashville def enseman P.K. Subban's one-timer slap shot with his left ankle during a Predators' 5-on-3 power play at 10:28 of the first period. 

Bonino got back up onto his feet after the block, but he fell back to the ice when the whistle blew for a penalty on Predators center Mike Fisher six seconds later. Bonino needed assistance to get off the ice and he immediately went down the tunnel to the Penguins dressing room.

One area the Penguins will be looking to address in the second period is faceoffs. Nashville won 20-of-27 faceoffs in the first period.

 

9:10 p.m.

The Penguins ended the period strong, helped again by a power play, this time for a cross-check by Predators defenseman Roman Josi on Conor Sheary in the defensive zone on Conor Sheary. 

The Penguins did not score on the power play, but found the net several seconds after it expired as Jake Guentzel somehow squeezed a rebound shot between the glove and hip of goalie Pekka Rinne to tie the game at 1-1. It was Guentzel's 11th goal of the playoffs.

Tweet from @NHL: Jake Guentzel tied Game 2 with his NHL-best 11th goal of the 2017 #StanleyCup Playoffs, tied for second-most in a playoff year by a rookie. pic.twitter.com/MSMs9w9ZpC

Twice in the period, the Predators were starting to dominate similar to the way they had in the second period of Game 1, but twice their momentum was derailed by penalties. Earlier in the period, the Predators had a full two-minute, two-man advantage when forwards Evgeni Malkin and Chris Kunitz committed fouls on the same play. But Predators captain Mike Fisher negated part of that advantage when he took an offensive-zone interference penalty while trying to establish position in front. 

It was a pretty even first period. Nashville holds a 18-12 advantage in shots. Pittsburgh had 12 shots in Game 2.

Nick Bonino, who was injured blocking a shot earlier in the period, did not return in the first period. We'll see if he comes out to start the second.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Guentzel threads a rebound by Rinne

 

8:53 p.m.

The Predators have taken the lead on a beautiful goal by Pontus Aberg at 12:57 of the first period. 

Aberg came down the wing, passed the puck through defenseman Olli Maata and then retrieved it before cutting across the face of the crease and out-waiting goalie Matt Murray. Once Murray went down, Aberg threw the puck over him. 

It is the first time the Penguins have trailed in the series - they led 3-0 in Game 1 before winning 5-3.
Further trouble for the Penguins could be brewing as they are down a man. Center Nick Bonino, who had two goals in Game 1, is in the dressing room. He had to be helped off the ice after a P.K. Subban slap shot hit him in his left ankle on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. After blocking the shot, Bonino struggled to get up and as soon as play was stopped he fell to his knees and started to crawl toward the bench before he was helped off by teammates.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Aberg shows patience, goes top shelf

 

8:45 p.m.

The Penguins are off to a far faster start than they had in Game 1. After allowing the first two shots, including a point-blank one-timer by Predators center Mike Fisher, the Penguins have taken charge with a strong forecheck, pinning the Predators for long stretches during the first 10 minutes. Pittsburgh already has six shots in the first period; they had 12 for the game on Monday.

Pittsburgh was able to get off to a fast start thanks to an early power play. Craig Smith, the Nashville forward, took a cross-checking penalty nearly 200 feet from his own net when he hit defenseman Ian Cole deep in the Pittsburgh zone. The crowd has responded to the play of the Penguins, roaring almost constantly from the drop of the puck to start the game.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Jimerson performs national anthem

 

8:10 p.m.

Warmups are finished here at PPG Paints Arena. Lineups look to be the same as Game 1, meaning that Nashville Predators forward Colin Wilson will miss his second straight game. The Penguins dressed the same 20 players, but have mixed up their forward lines a bit. The top line now has Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust flanking center Sidney Crosby. 

Evgeni Malkin is playing with Phil Kessel and Chris Kunitz. Jake Guentzel, who scored the winning goal in Game 1, is on the third line with center Nick Bonino and Carter Rowney. Scott Wilson is on the fourth line with Matt Cullen and Patric Hornqvist. The start of the game is about 10 minutes away. 

Make that last run to the fridge for supplies and we'll see you back here for the start of the game and to see if the Predators can get off to another fast start.

Tweet from @NHL: In the tunnel getting FIRED UP.#StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/rC5KTnUp1R

 

7:30 p.m.

Each team is expected to go with the same lineup it used two nights ago. For Nashville, forward Colin Wilson did not participate in the morning skate, suggesting he will not play.

The Predators have not lost back-to-back games this postseason, illustrating their ability to bounce back. In their previous four games following losses this postseason, the Predators have outscored the opposition 11-4.

Earlier thunderstorms have passed through and it is a beautiful night for hockey. The viewing party at the plaza outside PPG Paints Arena is in full swing again. A few Predators fans who braved the gauntlet of Penguins supporters were loudly booed as they passed by at about 6 p.m. The atmosphere inside and outside the building promises to be electric once again. We'll have another update after the warmups and further updates throughout Game 2.

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