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The RoundUp

Evgeni Malkin among top performers in Game 1 of Final

Honor Roll, Stock Watch from Penguins victory against Predators

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

Who played well in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it is easy to tell; sometimes it is not. NHL.com graded the players in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-3 home victory against the Nashville Predators on Monday. Here are the 10 who stood out the most.

 

Honor Roll

Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) -- Forget his goal, which gave the Penguins their first lead. Malkin was one of the most engaged players throughout the game, battling along the boards and fighting for every loose puck. 

Trevor Daley (Penguins) -- The defenseman, making his Stanley Cup Final debut after missing the Final last season because of a broken ankle, got the primary assist on Malkin's goal and had a huge sliding block of a Calle Jarnkrok backhander on a 3-on-2 in the second period. He had four of Pittsburgh's eight blocks. 

Jake Guentzel (Penguins) -- The rookie forward was not a guarantee for Game 1, but he was inserted into the lineup in place of Carl Hagelin and scored the winning goal. His screen of Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne made Malkin's goal possible.   

Nick Bonino (Penguins) -- He scored two goals without shooting at Rinne. Bonino's first shot bounced off Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm and into the net to make it 3-0 at 19:43 of the first period. On his second shot, almost 40 minutes later, he scored an empty-net goal. He also was dangerous at other points. 

Sidney Crosby (Penguins) -- He had the secondary assist on each of the Penguins' first two goals, giving him 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in the postseason, second only to Malkin, who has 25.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Malkin nets PPG on blistering slapper

 

Colton Sissons (Predators) -- The forward scored the Predators' second goal and had a game-high seven shots.   

Mike Fisher (Predators) -- The captain scored his first two points of the playoffs, getting secondary assists on goals by Ryan Ellis and Frederick Gaudreau. He also had four hits and in his first game back after missing the last two games of the Western Conference Final with an undisclosed injury. 

Roman Josi (Predators) -- The defenseman played almost half the game (28:22), worked for the shot that resulted in the redirection goal by Sissons and had nine shot attempts. He also blocked one shot and caused three turnovers. 

Austin Watson (Predators) -- The leader in hits (87) during the postseason was at it again Monday, getting six more, tied for the game high with Pittsburgh's Carter Rowney and Scott Wilson. His work along the boards led to the tying goal by Gaudreau. 

Filip Forsberg (Predators) -- He was a handful for the Pittsburgh defense all night, using his speed to create opportunities. Was offside on the disallowed P.K. Subban goal in the first period. 

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Sissons redirects Josi's shot for PPG

 

Stock Watch

Party in the Plaza people (up) -- Fans took advantage of near-perfect weather on Memorial Day to camp out for the viewing party outside PPG Paints Arena. They started arriving in the morning and kept coming all the day to fill the plaza to capacity and beyond. 

Andy Saucier (up) -- The Penguins' video coach is on his way to cult status after alerting Mike Sullivan that Forsberg was offside on the first-period goal by P.K. Subban. 

The catfish-thrower (down) -- The game was delayed at 3:20 of the second period when a fan threw a catfish on the ice. Catfish-tossing has become a tradition in Nashville but was not welcome here. The fan was ejected. 

Pekka Rinne (down) -- The goalie has been Nashville's rock throughout the playoffs and is a legitimate candidate to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. But he was off in Game 1, stopping 7 of 11 shots (.636). It was his lowest save percentage since he allowed three goals on six shots on Oct. 3. 2013 (.500). 

Nashville's defense (up) -- The Penguins went 37 minutes between shots, from the "own goal" that made it 3-0 in the first period to Jake Guentzel's goal at 16:43 of the third. The Penguins did not have a shot in the second period, the first time a team has gone without a shot during one period of a Stanley Cup Final game since the NHL started tracking shots in the 1957-58 season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. 

Pittsburgh's penalty kill (down) -- The Penguins committed three penalties and allowed the Predators to score on two of their three power plays. The Penguins have killed 82.8 percent of penalties in the postseason.

Frederick Gaudreau (up) -- The Nashville rookie scored his first NHL goal at 13:29 of the third period, in front of his parents no less, to tie the game 3-3. "I'd trade that goal for a win 100 percent, that's for sure," he said.

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

 

Sights and Sounds

"Jake, awesome job of finding one at the end." -- Chris Kunitz in handing the playoff hard hat to Jake Guentzel, who scored the winning goal Monday

 

Tweet from @penguins: Guentzel: "Thatta way, boys!" pic.twitter.com/zbwMqUWIPw

 

"We hate the score. We hate the result. But we'll move forward." -- Nashville coach Peter Laviolette, saying his team played well in Game 1

 

"Well, maybe they'll have a sandwich named after him or sauce or something, I don't know." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on video coach Andy Saucier, who alerted the staff to the offside violation on a goal by P.K. Subban that was overturned after a coach's challenge in the first period

 

Tweet from @carrieunderwood: No matter how this game ends up, there is NOTHING like #PlayoffHockey #StanleyCup #LetsGoPreds @PredsNHL

 

"If we can play our worst game and still come out with a win that's a good sign." -- Penguins forward Conor Sheary

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