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Penguins 5, Predators 1: Nashville stumbles in the spotlight

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March 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Pascal Dupuis (9) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
March 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Pascal Dupuis (9) scores a goal past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

With the attention of the hockey world focused on tonight's Predators/Penguins game, Nashville got off to a poor start and never could recover against a Pittsburgh team that looks ready to make a run for the Cup. The Pens stormed out to a 4-0 lead by the midpoint of the second period, before Alexander Radulov broke up the shutout with a goal in his season's debut for the Preds.

Evgeni Malkin scored on two big blasts, while James Neal added four assists, and even former Predator Steve Sullivan got a helper.

Follow after the jump for the grim details...

Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):

Your random observations:

  • Malkin's goal to open things up was a bit of a stunner, usually Pekka Rinne's glove is a Roach Motel for hockey pucks.
  • From there on, Pittsburgh completely carried the play in the early going, as the Dupuis goal demonstrated. the Penguins got two forecheckers right on top of the Nashville D right away, and when the puck went back to Letang at the point, he had all the time in the world to wind up and shoot while Dupuis set the screen in front.
  • The latter part of the first period finally saw the Preds find their sea legs, as they were able to get some extended pressure from a few different lines. I don't know which made me happier to see, a daring drive to the net by Mike Fisher or Kevin Klein's cruising-all-around-the-zone offensive work.
  • Sure, things turned craptastic as the margin spread to 4-0 in the second period, but Radulov's goal brought a bit of cheer. That was a classic bit of sagging into the open spot in order to bang home the loose puck. He looked pretty good for his first game back (and considering all he's gone through over the last few days).
  • All in all, this wasn't quite as demoralizing a game as it could have been (I know, even with a 5-1 score). Pittsburgh clearly looked like a great team, but the Preds got their chances, too. They actually outshot the Pens in every period, and had some other chances which didn't even result in shots.
  • As Willy Daunic asked on Twitter... Peks or Anders on Saturday?

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers