The Nashville Predators lost 4-3 to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. That is a fact. But, make no mistake the Predators gave the Penguins all they could handle in the first game, and this series should be tight throughout.
The game saw the Predators come out strongly and control the action early. P.K. Subban appeared to have put the Predators up 1-0 midway through the frame, but a heads-up review by Pittsburgh overturned the goal as it was ruled that Filip Forsbeg was offside as the puck went into the Penguins’ zone. The momentum quickly shifted back to Pittsburgh as they scored late on a 5 on 3 advantage, then added another goal just 1:05 later. The Pens weren’t done yet though, as they got a lucky bounce off Mattias Ekholm right before the period ended, and just like that the Penguins led 3-0 after the 1st period.
Nashville controlled the game throughout the 2nd period, dominating Pittsburgh on both ends of the ice, and the Predators began to claw back into the game. Ryan Ellis got Nashville’s 1st goal of the series 8:21 into the 2nd to make it 3-1 Pens. When the period had ended, Nashville had out-shot Pittsburgh 9-0. It was the 1st time ever a team had been held to zero shots for a period in a Stanley Cup series game.
The Predators kept up the pressure in the 3rd and tied the game 3-3 after getting goals by Coton Sissons at 10:06 and Frederick Gaudreau at 13;39. The Penguins still had no shots on goal in the period and, but on Pittsburgh’s first shot in 37 minutes, Jake Guentzel beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for the game-winner before Nick Bonino added an empty netter to end it. The Penguins were held to 12 shots for the game. It is the fewest goals ever in Cup history for a winning team.
So the Predators can be proud of their play, but they are disappointed in the final result.
Predators coach Peter Laviolette said following the game – “I thought our guys played well. From start to finish, they played well. … We hate the score. We hate the result, but we move forward.”
And Pittsburgh feels just the opposite -“We weren’t very good,” Coach Mike Sullivan said. “We weren’t very good. So, when you’re playing a team like Nashville that has a balanced attack, you have to have some pushback. I didn’t think, in the second period, that we had any pushback. … We just weren’t very good.”
But they’ll take the result.
Game Two is Wednesday Night at 7:00 PM CT in Pittsburgh.