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Snap Shots: Penguins 6, Predators 4

by Sam Kasan @penguins / Pittsburgh Penguins

Thoughts, musings and observations from the Penguins' 6-4 win against the Nashville Predators at PPG Paints Arena.

 

* This wasn't exactly how the Penguins drew it up. 

After a 5-2 victory Friday night in Nashville things were looking good for a sweep by Pittsburgh at the start of Saturday's night's home-and-home back-to-back finisher.

The Penguins scored 32 seconds into the game, added another just 33 seconds later and a third halfway through the opening period to take a 3-0 lead. Pittsburgh also enjoyed a 4-1 advantage halfway through the second period and were cruising.

Then…

Nashville's Craig Smith scored late in the second period on what appeared to be a harmless shot. The Predators rallied to tie the game in the third period, and things came down to the wire.

But…

Pittsburgh pulled out the win with a power-play goal from Jake Guentzel with just 63 seconds remaining. It wasn't pretty, but it counts. Two points is two points in the standings, and the Penguins will take them.

* The Penguins power play won them this game. Not just because the game-winning goal came on the power play with 1:03 left in the game, but because it connected for three man-advantage goals.

Without the power play, Pittsburgh probably loses this game handily. But it gave them a comfortable lead - which did evaporate - and then came through in the clutch late in the game.

The best power plays aren't the ones that rack up the most goals or click at the highest percentage. The best power plays find a way to score clutch goals and make a difference in a game. Tonight, the Penguins' power play did just that.

* Alex Galchenyuk shaved his beard over the Christmas break. And his new, fresh look is having an impact. Galchenyuk has goals in back-to-back games for Pittsburgh, and three points - which includes a goal and assist Saturday night.

Galchenyuk has been a lot more noticeable in the past few games. He's been more energized and really crashing the net looking for opportunities. That probably has more to do with his recent production than the clean shave, but let's not let the truth get in the way of a fun story. 

* Also on fire in the past few games is defenseman Juuso Riikola. After he picked up two points Friday night, he added another two Saturday with a pair of helpers. He doesn't see a lot of action, this being just his 16th game of the season. But right now, he is making the most of his opportunity with injuries hurting the Pittsburgh blue line.

* Other reboots from Friday's game that occurred in Saturday's sequel was a goal from Bryan Rust set up by Guentzel and Evgeni Malkin, and another power-play goal from Kris Letang. It was like déjà vu all over again.

* For the second night in a row, the Penguins chased Nashville's starting goaltender. On Friday night the Predators pulled Pekka Rinne after he allowed three goals on six shots. Saturday night Juuse Saros was yanked after surrendering three goals on eight shots. 

* The Predators showed a lot of heart and character to battle back in this game. The only negative I'd say is that they didn't earn a point, because they deserved better than to walk away from this game with nothing to show for it. It was a remarkable game between two incredible teams.

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