Pittsburgh holds off Predators in Game 1 of Stanley Cup Final

While the moment was amusing, it told part of the story of Monday's 5-3 Penguins win in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final at PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh Penguins' Carter Rowney (37) checks Nashville Predators' Viktor Arvidsson (38) to the ice during the first period in Game 1 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Monday, May 29, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins almost blew a 3-0 lead, one compounded by an bad offensive effort in the middle part of the game, before Jake Guentzel saved it with a goal at 16:43 of the third period. "We have a discussion amongst us and if we think it's really close, usually we're going to challenge it". "This is something that we'll learn from and we'll respond the right way".

The Penguins blue line also will find it hard if not impossible to match Nashville's in terms of scoring contributions from the back end, so overall the Predators have the edge in terms of defense. The Penguins' 12 total shots are the fewest ever by a victor in the finals. Instead, Pittsburgh's first shot on net in the period was a good one as Guentzel beat Rinne with a wrist shot.

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The first period of their first Stanley Cup Final game was a rough one for the Nashville Predators.

Pekka Rinne made seven saves on just 12 shots.

"They out-quicked us out there".

But Penguins' coach Mike Sullivan had faith that the winger would come through. "If they do that, then they obviously were better than us". They don't even ask how many. "We have to be a lot better the rest of the series". Just a minute later Conor Sheary scored a goal that was set up by a handsome pass from Sidney Crosby, who sent the puck out from behind the net to Chris Kunitz who fed it cross-ice to Sheary. "Jake came up right there".

The Predators, ever patient and resilient, began to win puck battles and create time and space to make plays. Pittsburgh coach Sullivan felt otherwise and challenged whether Filip Forsberg was offside as the Predators gained the attacking zone. The Penguins responded thereafter.

"It's just one of those nights where, for whatever reason, we got them blocked or missed the net", he said.

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

Nashville's Calle Jarnkrok took an interference penalty and James Neal a cross-checking penalty on the same play to give Pittsburgh the advantage. Rinne leaned the wrong way, leaving Sheary half the net to score his first goal of the playoffs.

A minute later, Chris Kunitz set up Conor Sheary with a no-look pass to make it 2-0. And then, it got downright embarrassing.

Guentzel's goal and an empty-net tally by Bonino sealed the victory for the Penguins, who will host Game 2 on Wednesday. "It was like we were chasing the puck all night". "We know what we're able to do. We played in their zone more than they were playing in our's".

It seemed the Penguins got a shot of adrenalin and quickly added two more goals in the opening period.

Most of the first two periods of Monday's showdown belonged to Pittsburgh, actually, but only because of the scoreboard. Because as they learned, simply keeping the Pens from shooting much won't necessarily do it.

Ryan Ellis then got the Preds on the board in the second, taking a long-anticipated step up in the wake of Nashville's injuries up front with a power-play strike past Matt Murray. The Penguins had never gone shotless in a playoff period before. Teams with a championship pedigree can play an absolutely awful game, go exactly 37 minutes without recording a shot on goal, and pretty much just rely on their pure talent to save them. The mood on the Penguins' bench was a mix of frustration and dejection.

"I knew that we were doing a good job defensively", coach Peter Laviolette said.

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