Pittsburgh Penguin fans gather for first game of the Stanley Cup Finals

Jonathan Hernandez
May 31, 2017

Former St. Louis Blues coach Davis Payne said Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators on Monday looked like teams searching for the right footing against an unfamiliar opponent. Then came the stinky aspect of the Pittsburgh Penguins' performance in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, a stretch of 37 minutes in which they didn't muster a shot on goal and gave up a three-goal lead.

"Never been in a game like that", Rinne said.

Jake Guentzel scored the game-winner, his 10th goal of the playoffs, on Pittsburgh's first shot of the third period with 3:17 left in regulation. We played a pretty good game and we have to be even better in the second game. Nashville tied the game.

"Just trying to use the D as a screen", Guentzel said.

Mike Sullivan's coach's challenge has wiped out what looked like the first goal of the Stanley Cup Final.

First came the catfish hurled from the stands, landing on the ice in a gory splash. That's just a bad use of technology, and it stripped a goal from one of the game's biggest stars on its most signifiant night, saddling fans - of both teams, and the sport in general - with waiting through a almost five-minute delay. So we celebrate the call.

In his bench interview with NBC, Sullivan said his team has a three-way radio setup and that he usually opts to challenge if it's close. "I don't think in the second period we had any pushback".

Commissioner Gary Bettman said prior to Game 1 that the NHL's video review system on offside and goaltender interference opportunities was working as intended.

And know that it totally changed the course of the game, and maybe the series.

It was the visitors who dominated the game early on, registering the game's first five shots. The core that Crosby and Malkin led to the Cup in 2009 went through seven frustrating and fruitless springs before returning to the top in 2016.

The Pens went on to win 5-3.

Bonino sealed it with an empty-netter.

It was fitting then that a coach's challenge led to the reversal of the series' first goal early in Game 1, scored by one the NHL's biggest stars. And to cap it off, as the period died Pittsburgh's Nick Bonino drove the zone and flipped a soft one-handed backhand to the net, and Rinne's goal stick sent a flawless pass to Ekholm's thigh, and the puck bounced back in with 17 seconds left: 3-0 Penguins after one period, just as it was presumably supposed to be, or something.

Let's face it, Sidney Crosby and Mario Lemieux will go down as the two greatest Penguins of all time. The Predators had allowed only five first-period goals through its first 17 games.

Nashville did a lot of things right in the game - including holding the Penguins without a single shot on goal in the second period - but ultimately they couldn't overcome an very bad lapse in poise late in the opening period, in which they surrendered three goals in a four-minute, 11-second span that ultimately cost them the game.

Nothing in the entire second period. The Preds tied the game at 3-3 before Jake Guentzel, with the Pens' first shot on net in 37 minutes, scored to make it 4-3 at 16:43 of the third.

"They are working exactly as they were meant to: that is to provide officials with an opportunity to get a better look at plays", Bettman said. An astounding 41.7 percent of those shots found the back of the net, however, including two by Nick Bonino, who sealed the deal with an empty-netter. Since the National Hockey League began tracking shots during the 1957-58 season, no team had failed to register at least one in a period in a Cup final game.

Conor Sheary #43 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is defended by Mattias Ekholm #14 of the Nashville Predators in Game One of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena on May 29, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

If only that Subban goal had counted, huh?

The Angels put the reigning AL MVP on the disabled list for the first time Monday for the first time in his career.

Then, all of a sudden...boom. The Penguins won despite putting just 12 shots on goal.

"When you talk about the low shot totals, it's not just about Pittsburgh not shooting the puck; it's about Nashville continuously beating them to the right side of the play". The Penguins struggled to sustain pressure and zone time for the majority of the game.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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