The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators in a thrilling game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Pittsburgh did not deserve the win as much; however; good teams find a way to win, and they are three wins away from winning the cup in back to back years.
The game started out to a fast pace, and neither side really had an advantage early on. That stayed truthful until P.K. Subban fired a shot through a screen and scored on Matt Murray. Subban’s goal would eventually be challenged by Head Coach Mike Sullivan of the Pittsburgh Penguins, and after review the goal was overturned due to as there was a player who caught the puck entering a zone offsides. Nashville was not letting this put their heads down, and they came back off the faceoff and almost scored. Matt Murray was partially shaken up after the play due to a collision with teammate Ron Hainsey.
When the Penguins retrieved the puck after Murray was shaken up, they took the play to Nashville hard. A zone time of nearly two minutes led to Nashville taking two penalties on the same play, which brought a 5 on 3 powerplay for two whole minutes to the Penguins. The penguins capitalized on one of the powerplays, giving them a 1-0 lead from Evgeny Malkin’s goal. The penguins also scored from Conor Sheary, and Nick Bonino near the end of the period. Pittsburgh’s offense exploded for three goals in a little over four minutes. 3-0 Penguins after period 1.
If you thought this game was over, you thought wrong. Nashville stayed calm, cool, and collected and displayed arguably the best defense a team has ever played in the Stanley Cup Final. They did not allow a shot the whole second period, and managed to score one goal on a powerplay, which gave them more momentum and allowed them to start mounting their comeback.
As the third period started, Nashville was still bringing it to the Penguins. Nashville scored two quick goals about halfway through the period and tied the game at 3-3. Nashville did not allow a shot in the third period until around three minutes minutes were left in the period. A impressive total of 37 minutes they had not allowed a shot on goal.
It all seemed like Nashville was going to make an insane comeback from a 3-0 deficit and win the game, Jake Guentzel of the Pittsburgh Penguins scored their first shot on goal in 37 minutes, making it 4-3 Pittsburgh with three minutes left to play. The penguins eventually scored an empty net goal from center ice as Nick Bonino lofted the puck into the air and into the net. The Penguins won 5-3 in game one with only 12 shots. That winning recipe will not work again, and the Penguins need to pick up their slack if they expect to game 2 of the series.