Predators goalie Rinne struggling as Pens take 2-0 lead

Charges against catfish-thrower may have been too harsh, Pittsburgh mayor says

Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final between the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins on NBC Sports Network was the second-most watched Game 2 since 2002 and the most-watched cable program Wednesday night. "For me, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity".

While the Predators lost Game 1, many fans remained optimistic about Nashville's hopes of winning its first Stanley Cup. Rinne is now 1-6-2 lifetime against Pittsburgh - his lone win came in relief at Nashville - and he entered the series with a.880 save percentage and a 3.57 goals-against average.

Their explosiveness is at once mesmerizing and demoralizing. Skating one-on-one against Olli Maata, the Predators rookie turned Maata inside out on a deke and then cut towards the net and went upstairs on goalie Matt Murray. In Game 1 against Washington in the second round, Crosby scored 12 seconds into the second period, and again 52 seconds later to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead (they won 3-2). Game Two against St. Louis, Game Four against Anaheim... last night against Pittsburgh. On the other end of the ice, Penguins goaltender Matt Murray, who is still classified as a rookie, was just all right in Game 1, but he brought his A game Wednesday night to help propel the Penguins to a 4-1 victory.

They need to figure something out in a hurry.

And yet, they won, 5-3, to take a 1-0 series lead.

The Predators have to figure something out and fast. "So we're going back home and we're going to win the next game and we'll see what happens after there".

Rinne has been the Predators' best player through out this playoff run.

Rinne stopped 21 of 25 shots.

Criminal charges against Jake Waddell, the Game 1 Catfish Guy and local hero, will be dropped. But Rinne is clearly fighting the puck, and the slump is coming at the worst possible time. This Penguins team has elite offensive talent, and a goalie.

Anyone having trouble understanding why Pekka Rinne is struggling so mightily against the Pittsburgh Penguins should take a look at his career numbers against the team.

Outside of a collective stretch of about eight minutes over two games, when the Penguins struck for six goals, the Predators have dictated the action, generating 60 per cent of even-strength shot attempts (91-60).

Through two games there is no argument as to which element has dominated. Don't count on it.

"Pekka's been excellent for us all year long", Laviolette said.

"When you lose a couple games and get pulled, you're not happy about how things went", Rinne said. "There's things we could've done. all three goals in the third period were odd-man rushes". "You feel like the Pittsburgh Penguins, they have his number". Coach Mike Sullivan obviously appreciated Rowney's tenacity, physical play, and exceptional penalty killing, and No. 37's ice time progressively increased as the series wore on.

Guentzel struck again 10 seconds into the third period to put Pittsburgh in front for good.

Over the course of nearly any other seven-game stretch for one team in the National Hockey League, it wouldn't be uncommon to see the backup goaltender play once, twice or maybe even three times.

You could also argue that without Fleury stepping into the breach and carrying the Penguins through the better part of the first three rounds, they aren't even in the Stanley Cup final. My how fortunes can turn. In that game, the Predators seized momentum until the reigning champs snatched it away late. The Predators are 4-1 in their last 5 Saturday games, 19-7 in their last 26 home games and 12-5 in their last 17 overall.

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