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Penguins surge past Predators to win Game 2 of Cup Final

Score three goals early in third, including two in 15 seconds, to take 2-0 series lead

by Wes Crosby / NHL.com Correspondent

PITTSBURGH -- A span of 3:18 is all the Pittsburgh Penguins needed Wednesday.

It took them that long to score three times early in the third period, including twice in 15 seconds, to defeat the Nashville Predators 4-1 in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena.

"I think this team has an inner belief that we can score goals," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "They've provided plenty of evidence for themselves to suggest that. I know our guys believe in their ability to finish, and so it's about making sure that if we don't get anything, we try to limit the opportunities of our opponents to the best of our ability.

"We're going to go through stretches of games where we might get a handful of shifts in a row where we don't get an opportunity. It's just about making sure that we continue to try to play the game the right way."

 

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

 

Pittsburgh leads the best-of-7 series 2-0 with Game 3 at Nashville on Saturday.

Jake Guentzel's second goal made it 2-1 10 seconds into the third after his first tied it 1-1 with 3:24 left in the first. He has three goals in the series, including the game-winning goal in Games 1 and 2.

"It's crazy," the 22-year-old rookie said. "You can't even put into words what it feels [like], but the ultimate goal is two more wins."

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Guentzel on two-goal Game 2 performance

Entering this series, Guentzel had not scored in eight consecutive games. Because of that drought, Sullivan nearly scratched Guentzel in Game 1 on Monday, a 5-3 win, but decided to play him instead of forward Carl Hagelin.

Three days later, Guentzel was again playing on a line with center Sidney Crosby and leading the NHL with 12 goals in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"He's really smart," Crosby said. "He has really good hockey sense, so he's able to read the play. He's in and around the net all the time. He knows when to get out of there and find a soft area to set up for a pass."

Scott Wilson made it 3-1 at 3:13 before Evgeni Malkin pushed it to 4-1 on his first shot of the game 15 seconds later. Malkin leads the NHL with 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) this postseason.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Pens erupt for three goals in 3rd

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne was replaced by Juuse Saros after Malkin's goal. Rinne allowed four goals on 25 shots after giving up four on 11 shots in Game 1.

"Pekka has been terrific this entire playoffs," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think there are things we can do better. All three goals in the third period, we could have done something better. We're leaving odd-man-numbered rushes. I believe all of them were odd, 3-on-2s and 2-on-1s. It makes it more difficult."

Matt Murray made 37 saves for Pittsburgh.

Patric Hornqvist scored at 6:48 of the third period, but the goal was overturned after it was ruled Matt Cullen was offside at 6:40.

Pontus Aberg gave Nashville a 1-0 lead with 7:03 remaining in the first period.

The Predators could have scored earlier during a 5-on-3 after Malkin was called for hooking and Chris Kunitz went off for cross-checking 9:36 into the game. An interference penalty against Mike Fisher made it 4-on-3 58 seconds later before each of the penalties were killed.

Penguins forward Nick Bonino left after blocking a shot by Predators defenseman P.K. Subban. He missed the final 9:26 of the first period but returned for the second and played the rest of the game.

 

Goal of the game

Guentzel gathered the rebound of a shot by Bryan Rust and sent a wrist shot past Rinne's right pad for his second goal.

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

 

Save of the game

Roman Josi had a chance to give the Predators a 2-1 lead after receiving a pass from Filip Forsberg. Josi one-timed a slap shot toward Murray, who lowered his glove to make the save at 8:29 of the second period.

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

 

Highlight of the game

Aberg drove down the near wall, passed to himself through Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta, carried the puck above Pittsburgh's crease, and shot over Murray for his fourth point in the past four games.

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

 

Unsung performance of the game

Forward Carter Rowney led the Penguins with seven hits and had two blocks.

 

They said it

"It's always fun to score. We have emotion to keep going. When we score one, we don't stop." -- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin

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

 

"We're down 2-0 going back home. This is not the situation we wanted to be in coming here." -- Predators goalie Pekka Rinne

 

Need to know

Guentzel's five game-winning goals this postseason are the most by a rookie in NHL history. … His 12th playoff goal surpassed Jeremy Roenick (Chicago Blackhawks, 1990) and Brad Marchand (Boston Bruins, 2011) for the second most by a rookie in a single postseason (two behind Dino Ciccarelli's 14 goals with the Minnesota North Stars in 1981). No rookie has led the NHL outright in playoff goals since the League took control of the Stanley Cup in 1926-27. ... Guentzel's 19 points (12 goals, seven assists) are the most by a United States-born rookie in one postseason (Joe Mullen had 18 with the St. Louis Blues in 1982). ... Guentzel's third-period goal was one second from the quickest goal to start a Cup Final period. Brian Skrudland of the Montreal Canadiens scored nine seconds into overtime of Game 2 against the Calgary Flames in 1986, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... A team that leads a best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final 2-0 has won the series 45 of 50 times (90 percent). A team that takes a 2-0 lead at home has won 34 of 37 times (91.9 percent). ... Predators forward Colin Wilson missed a second consecutive game because of an undisclosed injury.

 

What's next

Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, SN)

 

Video: Three-goal 3rd lifts Pens past Preds in Game 2, 4-1

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