National Hockey League rumors: Could the Predators actually bench Pekka Rinne?

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Don Wright-USA TODAY Sports

Predators trail the Penguins 1-0 in the series.

Predators counterpart Peter Laviolette said a disallowed goal in the first period had proved decisive.

That said, home ice won't mean a thing if the Penguins continue to be as opportunistic as they've been. Then it's way too much.

The Penguins lead 4-1 late in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final after a three-goal flurry in the first 3:18 of the third period against Nashville.

The barrage started with rookie Jake Guentzel.

Ten seconds into the third period, Guentzel - who delivered the game-winner in Game 1 - notched his second of the game. With No. 1 defenceman Kris Letang gone midway through the season, they finished 14th in shots for and against at five-on-five; going into Game 2 Wednesday night, Pittsburgh had the second-lowest percentage of five-on-five shot attempts of any team in the playoffs at 46.9 per cent, which in the regular season would make them the 29th-ranked team in hockey, and then it got worse.

Only if Rinne turns back into Rinne. In Game 2, they had as many shots in the first period (12) as they did total in the previous game.

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The next two games are played in Nashville. It's not like they're scheming to endure shot droughts of 37:00 and 9:50, as was the case in Games 1 and 2, respectively; their meter just happens to flick between hibernation and domination, with little else in between. Against Pittsburgh, it's at.777 and he remains winless in his career against the Penguins in games he's started.

"That's the good thing about the situation", said Penguins defenceman Trevor Daley.

"I didn't think we were stiff enough in the battle areas", Sullivan said.

Police say 36-year-old Jacob Waddell threw the dead fish over the glass surrounding the rink on Monday night during the Nashville Predators-Pittsburgh Penguins game. "We know the ultimate goal is two more wins".

Malkin added his ninth of the playoffs and second of the series just 15 seconds later and Rinne was skating to the bench in favor of backup Juuse Saros after stopping 21 of 25 shots.

You could argue that without Guentzel's scoring, both in terms of quantity and quality, the Penguins are not where the are today.

Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin also scored for Pittsburgh, which won for the ninth time in these playoffs when being outshot. Sidney Crosby, Penguins; 4.

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The score was knotted at 1-1 through two periods after goals from Pontus Aberg and Guentzel. Part of his job title is to alert coach Mike Sullivan when to challenge a call.

Just 15 seconds later, Evgeni Malkin scored off of a two-on-one, firing a flawless shot over Rinne's glove for a 4-1 lead.

And by offense, we're not talking goals. "Our home building's been a good place for us". The Penguins were firing at will at Rinne and scored on a power play shot by Guentzel at 16:26 in the first period. Subban has to believe in his team's ability to win the next game or he might as well not play. They are four of the five top scoring players in the playoffs.

NOTES: Penguins C Matt Cullen left in the first period briefly after being hit from behind into the boards by Predators D Matt Irwin.

The Ugly - Three minutes and twenty-eight seconds of the third period.

"This is his first year pro, coming out of college, where he's not used to playing the National Hockey League schedule, and the demands of that physically, not to mention a long playoff run", Sullivan said of Guentzel. Aberg cut past him and to the front of the net, holding onto the puck before lifting a forehand past goalie Matt Murray for his second playoff goal. The Preds have been excellent when they play within themselves and keep to the system. It's Guentzel's sense around the net that stands out - despite his 5-foot-11 size, he has the grit to match the finesse that makes him a threat from anywhere in the offensive zone. The Predators are also blowing away the Penguins in the faceoff circle, winning 62 percent of draws through 40 minutes.

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