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Nashville Predators 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 1: Goal Explosion! Preds Make It A 2-1 Series

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The Predators get one back in their first ever home Cup Final game.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Pittsburgh Penguins at Nashville Predators Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

The Predators just won their first ever Stanley Cup Final game, beating the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in an electric atmosphere. If you were here for it, you won’t forget it.

Speaking of forgetting, you might not have remembered that the Penguins scored the first goal. Jake Guentzel (who else?) pounced on a rebound to make it 1-0. And after that? A P.K. Subban penalty. !t actually was not a great start for the Preds. The Penguins had momentum early on and the crowd was uneasy.

From there, the Preds were able to generate some nice chances—Filip Forsberg, Viktor Arvidsson, and James Neal all had chances from the slot that didn’t go. Meanwhile, the Penguins continued to suffocate the Preds attacking, limiting the dangerous chances and protecting Matt Murray from having to do too much.

Everything changed in the 2nd period.

Taking advantage of a Penguins penalty, Roman Josi scored to tie the game 5:51 into the period. The place erupted. It was an emphatic goal, an emphatic celebration, and an emphatic response after the first 1st period. Then 42 seconds later, Frederick Gaudreau drills one by Murray to put the Preds up 2-1. Another eruption.

The game settled down a bit—the Preds killed off another Penguins power play, there were some great saves by Rinne—but then James Neal scored with 23 seconds left in the period after some incredible work by Viktor Arvidsson to win the puck. And the place went bonkers.

The 3rd period started much in the same way. The Preds had a ton of pressure and the Penguins looked gassed. Freddy G had a breakaway but missed the net. Craig Smith had a breakaway and... made it! It was just about the craziest damn thing I’ve seen yet. This guy couldn’t buy a goal in the regular season and then he does that.

Mattias Ekholm also scored a goal, getting his first goal of the playoffs. The game ended 5-1 and it felt like more somehow.

After losing two games in Pittsburgh, this was a great win for the Preds. From the middle of the 1st period on, they dominated this game. From goaltending to goal scoring to playmaking to special teams—the Preds were on fire tonight.

But the series is still just 2-1. Need another effort like this on Monday night.

Random Observations

  • There were standing ovations and catfish... in the warmups.
  • So incredibly loud in here. The fans are absolutely bringing it.
  • Ughhhhh another terrible start.
  • Subban with an early penalty, but the Preds kill it off. Needed that for sure.
  • Craig Smith looks like he came to play. His work rate is off the charts. Fighting for pucks and using his body well. Man, if he could score one tonight...
  • To start the 2nd period, the Preds still look ready to strike. Just need an opening.
  • A Preds power play... here we go...?
  • YES!! Josi slaps one home from his usual spot and it’s a tie game. SUPER LOUD NOW.
  • FREDDDDDDDYYYYYY HOCCCKKKKKEYYYYYYYY just sniped one by Murray from the slot. My goodness that was incredible.
  • SUPER SUPER LOUD.
  • What the heck are these calls? I mean, I just don’t see it. Elbowing isn’t called, but that hit by Ellis is?
  • Ok, I’m done talking about officiating.
  • NEALER!!!!!! Oh man, Arvy with some fantastic pressure. That’s what we’ve been waiting to see. Arvidsson pressures, forcing turnovers, Neal wins a puck, scores. 3-1 Preds!!
  • This place is insane.
  • SMITTTTTYYYY!!!!
  • What a freaking game.
  • Of course, the Pens aren’t just gonna let this one go without trying to take off someone’s head. Cole just obliterated Neal’s face with his stick, meanwhile Arvidsson is pile drived behind the net.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Roman Josi: a goal and two assists. A huge game from the core leadership of this team.
  2. Craig Smith: He was ON it all night. Looked really hungry for a goal and then he got one. So glad for Smitty.
  3. Pekka Rinne: He may have looked a little shaky early on, but boy did he get his groove back. 27 saves in a great bounce back performance.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game Video