Skip to Main Content
game recap

Penguins recover to defeat Predators in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

Jake Guentzel breaks tie with 3:17 left for Pittsburgh, which scores five goals on 12 shots

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- Jake Guentzel could have been a healthy scratch Monday. But Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan gave Guentzel the chance to play hero.

Guentzel scored with 3:17 remaining in the third period to help the Penguins defeat the Nashville Predators 5-3 in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena.

Guentzel's goal, which made it 4-3, came on Pittsburgh's first shot on goal in a span of 37:00. It ended his eight-game goal drought dating to May 8.

"You just have to stay positive, I think," Guentzel said. "You're getting the chances. … You just have to stay with it."


[WATCH: All Predators vs. Penguins highlights | RELATED: Complete Nashville vs. Pittsburgh series coverage]


Pittsburgh did not have a shot on goal in the second period. Nashville became the first team to hold an opponent to zero shots in a period during a Stanley Cup Final since the NHL began tracking shots on goal in 1957-58.

"We weren't very good," Sullivan said. "We weren't very good. So, when you're playing a team like Nashville that has a balanced attack, you have to have some pushback. I didn't think, in the second period, that we had any pushback. … We just weren't very good."

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Bonino banks goal in off defender

Game 2 of the best-of-7 series is here Wednesday.

With forward Patric Hornqvist returning from an upper-body injury, Sullivan decided between playing forward Carl Hagelin or Guentzel, who did not have a goal in the seven-game Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators.

"We felt in the last series that he might have been wearing down a little bit," Sullivan said. "So the coaching staff was trying to be proactive and trying to find ways to maybe cut his minutes a little bit so that we would get more productive minutes from him. And, quite frankly, to take a little bit of pressure off him."

Nick Bonino scored an empty-net goal with 1:02 remaining to make it 5-3.

The Predators trailed 3-0 in the first period before scoring three times to tie the game.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Ellis uses screen to tally PPG

Ryan Ellis made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 8:21 of the second period, Colton Sissons made it 3-2 with another power-play goal at 10:06 of the third period, and Frederick Gaudreau tied it 3-3 at 13:29 with his first NHL goal.

Evgeni Malkin gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead with a slap shot on a 5-on-3 with 4:28 remaining in the first period before Conor Sheary made it 2-0 with 3:23 left. Sheary's goal was his first in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead with 17 seconds left when Bonino one-handed a shot on Pekka Rinne that deflected off Rinne's stick blade before bouncing off Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and past the goal line.

P.K. Subban seemed to give Nashville a 1-0 lead at 7:13 when his shot got past defenseman Brian Dumoulin and under Matt Murray's blocker. The Penguins challenged that Filip Forsberg entered the zone offside at 6:58 and the goal was disallowed after video review. 

Murray made 23 saves for Pittsburgh; Rinne made seven for Nashville.

"Being down 3-0 against the Stanley Cup champions, coming back, tying it up 3-3 and having an opportunity in the hockey game is definitely something to build on," Subban said. "At the end of the day, we had an opportunity to be up 1-0 in this series. We're not."

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Murray gloves Arvidsson's slapper


Goal of the game

Matt Cullen passed to Guentzel in the neutral zone, which allowed him to charge forward before shooting over Rinne's glove.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Guentzel snipes late go-ahead goal


Save of the game

Murray denied a wrist shot from Mike Fisher that could have tied it 3-3 with 9:11 remaining in the third period, 43 seconds after Sissons cut Pittsburgh's lead to one goal. Murray didn't make another save until Forsberg took a wrist shot with 29 seconds left.


Highlight of the game

Austin Watson dug the puck away from defensemen Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley before turning behind the net and passing to Gaudreau, who tapped a shot past Murray. 

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Gaudreau ties game with first NHL goal


Unsung performance of the game

Daley, who missed the 2016 Stanley Cup Final with a broken ankle, led Pittsburgh with four blocked shots.


They said it

"It wasn't a perfect game, but we found a way and we know we've got a lot to improve on. … We'll go over it and make sure we're getting better with each game." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby


"I thought our guys played well. From start to finish, they played well. … We hate the score. We hate the result, but we move forward." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette


Need to know

Fisher had an assist on Ellis' goal for his first point of the playoffs. He missed the previous two games because of an undisclosed injury. … Predators forward Colin Wilson did not play because of an undisclosed injury. … Guentzel leads the NHL with 10 goals this postseason. He became the fifth rookie in NHL history to reach double-digit goals in a single playoff. Malkin leads the League with 25 points (eight goals, 17 assists). … Sullivan tweaked his lines with the Penguins struggling to gain possession in the offensive zone during the second period. Hornqvist moved to right wing next to Malkin, replacing Phil Kessel, who moved to right wing on the third line.


What's next

Game 2 of Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, SN)


Video: Guentzel, Bonino lead Pens to 5-3 victory in Game 1

View More