SHARE

All they ask is if you won.

Pittsburgh’s 5-3 victory over Nashville in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final had an 8.2 rating in Buffalo Monday night, which was 40 percent higher than the 5.8 rating for Pittsburgh’s 3-2 win over San Jose in Game 1 on the same night a year ago.

This one wasn’t pretty. But, even though it looked like the ice was melting under their skates, the Penguins scored four goals on 11 shots and tacked on an empty-netter for a 1-0 lead in the series. But before Guentzel’s goal, the Penguins were in danger of being held without a shot in back-to-back periods. He played his 20th postseason game with the Penguins Monday night, a total that is now more than all but three players under contract with the Hurricanes next season: Jordan Staal (73), Cam Ward (41) and Lee Stempniak (28).

Opportunistic does not begin to describe this one.

Pittsburgh Penguins’ goalie Matt Murray, center, lunges toward the puck as Nashville Predators’ Vernon Fiddler, left, and Cody McLeod contend during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Maybe that’s why he couldn’t get a piece of the puck on the victor. That make sense. But the other two are baffling.

Ultimately, that gaffe – and Sullivan’s gutsy challenge – were difference makers.

And it was long overdue.

As Forsberg corralled the pass, his left foot crossed into the Penguins zone while the puck remained on the blue line, negating the goal by a matter of inches, and seconds.

The Penguins have in their home dressing room a whiteboard with a header that says “Right way” and under it are subheaders for intangibles and play with and without the puck. “The fact that he didn’t get one in the last round was a bit surprising”.

“It just wasn’t our night”, Fisher said.

“You never think you’re going to blow a three-goal lead”.

The Penguins’ influx of offense started with a pair of penalties on Predators at 13:50.

“We didn’t do a great job of (shooting), but we made them count”, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said.

This kind of stifling play isn’t entirely unfamiliar from the Predators, who notably swept the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round while allowing a mere three goals.

The game was halted after the incident to clean up the fish, and unfortunately for that Predators fan, they were escorted out of the stadium. The Predators played an imperfect game – Pekka Rinne can be better, and they can afford to be more disciplined – but there are a lot of good things they can take away from Game 1.

The Clarksville Parks & Recreation Department and CDE Lightband will stream the game to a huge screen on the First Street side of City Hall. Even with score effects taken into consideration, that’s a stifling defensive effort.

The game felt over, and yet, the Pens had three goals on just eight shots.

Hornqvist hasn’t played since Game 1 of the Eastern Conference final because of an upper body injury.

“Looking back since I came here a couple years ago, he’s been the best player in nearly all of the games played”, Filip Forsberg said. “We know we’re capable of playing a better game”.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here