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Nashville Predators 3, Pittsburgh Penguins 5: Predators Rally But Penguins Steal Game 1

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An ugly start from the Predators and an unbelievable comeback weren’t enough to win Game 1.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Nashville Predators at Pittsburgh Penguins Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

The Stanley Cup Final opened in Pittsburgh Monday night with the defending Champions facing off against the little southern hockey team that no one saw coming. Regardless of the out-come the Nashville Predators have become...dare I say it, America’s team going into this series. It’s been one hell of a journey, let’s hope they make us proud.

The Predators would have their Captain Mike Fisher and Craig Smith back in the line-up tonight, but with the good news came bad news as well. Colin Wilson would sit this one out with an injury. Another huge blow to Nashville’s offense, but they would have to soldier on.

The energy in the first few minutes has definitely set the tone for this series. It’s going to be emotional on both sides. Nashville has never been here before, there is no guarantee when they will get to this point again. They’re taking nothing for granted early. Pittsburgh has been here, but they are wise not to underestimate Nashville.

P.K. Subban scored a beautiful goal early off an amazing set-up from Filip Forsberg. Just as soon as the celebrating began, Pittsburgh challenged for off-sides. After an unnecessarily long review, the goal was questionably reversed and we remain scoreless.

The Preds have been here before, they just need to dust themselves off and get back in there. Unfortunately that’s not what they did.

James Neal thought he could get away with a penalty and earned himself a seat in the box. Apparently Calle Jarnkrok did something bad as well, and suddenly the momentum of this game has shifted and the Penguins are on a 5v3 power play.

Going into this game my biggest worry was not Sidney Crosby, it was Evgeni Malkin. The right place at the right time on the power play and he gets the Pens on the board. Again, Nashville could pick themselves up and get back out there, but instead they shut down and it’s open season on Pekka Rinne.

Pens 2-0 Conor Sheary.

Pens 3-0 Bonino off...Mattias Ekholm.

The first period was bad. Very bad. Moving on...

The momentum swung back to Nashville during the second period. After one brave fan threw a catfish on the ice, and was subsequently ejected from the arena, it was all Nashville for 20 minutes of play. Thank you brave soul, may we have another!

The Preds would get their first chance at the power play, and Ryan Ellis would get them on the board, and keep them there this time. The way the Preds are playing again, it’s hard not to wonder what this game would have been like if that Subban goal would have stuck. Again...moving on.

The Preds did a really great job shutting down Pittsburgh for the entire second period. The Pens didn’t manage a single shot on goal through 20 minutes of play. The Preds showed a lot of hustle and pressure offensively. If they can keep this up even if the Pens steal this one, there’s no way they win this series. The Penguins have to be better, and they know it.

The third period saw the same dominate play from the Predators. Ellis matched Crosby for speed on a break-out and shut him down, and put him in the back of the net in the process, but it was a solid play by Ellis.

Penguins managed to pick up the pace and throw some pressure on Nashville, but the Preds held their ground and gained another chance at the power play with Malkin in the box. This is a huge moment for Nashville.

They did not disappoint. Roman Josi drive one towards the net and Colton Sissons put it home on the power play and pulls this game within one. Regardless of the outcome, the Predators have sent a clear message to the Penguins.

Just as soon as things start looking up for the Predators, they go back on the penalty kill. This is another huge moment for Nashville, and my lord did they answer. Frederick Gaudreau with the short-handed goal!

Unfortunately the Penguins would get another goal in the waining minutes of the game to break this tie. Rinne goes to the bench, and the Penguins get the empty netter and that’s all she wrote for tonight. The Penguins steal this one, but the Predators showed them what they were made of. It’s going to be a great series.

Random Observations

  • I don’t know if Nashville just set the bar too high but that anthem was not great.
  • You can tell just how emotional this series is going to be by the amount of energy both sides are showing this early.
  • WOOOOOW! Smitty got some wheels on him still. What a drive!
  • Arvy trending to have 497 shots on goal by the end of this series.
  • P.K. Subban gets the party started tonight.
  • And then Pittsburgh challenges for off-sides and apparently Forsberg was off-sides so no goal. It’s cool the Preds will just score four more hateful ones to make-up for it.
  • Nealer...you can’t do that. But Calle...that’s questionable. But here we go 5v3. It’s gonna be ugly.
  • Ugly’s name is Geno. Pens up 1 nothing.
  • Ugly’s name is Sheary. Pens up 2 nothing
  • Ugly’s name is Bonino. Pens up 3 nothing.
  • Ugly’s name in the Nashville Predators. This is not Nashville hockey. They’re a better team than this. Turn this around!
  • Here’s hoping the Preds turn this thing around in the next period. They need all the good juju they can get.
  • We have a catfish on the ice!! A CATFISH ON THE ICE IN THE BURGH!
  • It’s really icky, but I can’t look away. I’m talking about the fish here not the Preds PP. But the PP is pretty icky too.
  • Ryan Ellis! The man, the myth, the beard! The Preds are back in this. We need three more fish...I mean goals.
  • I don’t know where this game goes from here. In reality the Preds are down by two but in our hearts they’re only down by one so emotions are everywhere.
  • Lavy is not here for you Pierre. Haha.
  • How things are going for the Pens this period: They haven’t had a shot on goal in almost 20 minutes.
  • Correction: The Pens didn’t have a single shot on goal in the entire second period.
  • I giggle every time Forsberg laughs at someone who tries to get in his face.
  • Correction: The Pens have been awarded a shot. Yeah...okay.
  • Correction: The Pens have gone 23 minutes without a shot on goal...correction no one has any idea how long it’s been since the Pens have had a shot on goal. Moving on.
  • Ryan Ellis just matched Sidney Crosby for speed and Crosby takes on Rinne and the net in the process. I’m assuming that’s a shot on goal?
  • The Preds get the PP and are back in this!
  • Holy crap the Preds tie it!!
  • Crap, the Pens get it back.
  • Rinne to the bench. Ugh. Anxiety.
  • Empty net goal. Gross.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Ryan Ellis: He’s been outstanding this season, and during the playoffs. This game never bounces back for Nashville without.
  2. Mike Fisher: After going the entire post season without a point, Fisher showed up tonight.
  3. The Catfish and the fan who was ejected: Call it superstition but the momentum of this game totally swung to Nashville after that.

Tweets of the Night