Coming off a 4-1 victory in Game 2, the Pittsburgh Penguins need to keep their skates on the throats of the Nashville Predators
Boy is hockey a fun game to watch, but it can lie. If you were to look at all the stats except for the final scores, most would say that Nashville won both games. At the very least, they earned a split in Pittsburgh based on the stats. However the only stat that matters is the scoreboard and the Penguins find themselves up 2-0 in the series. Two more victories for back to back Stanley Cups.
While the Pens played better than Game 1, where most feel they were fortunate to escape with a victory, Game 2 wasn’t their best hockey either. The Predators controlled most of the game again, outshooting the Penguins 38 to 27. However the Pens only needed about 3 minutes at the beginning of the third period to turn a tie game into a rout. That’s how fast their quick strike offense can operate.
The Predators are reeling right now as the series shifts to Nashville. It will be a tough task for them to crawl out of this hole and the scary thing for them is that the Penguins have not played their best hockey yet. Pittsburgh needs to keep the hammer down now that they have their opponent wobbly. A split in Nashville is all that is needed to take total control of the series.
Matt Murray vs Pekka Rinne
All the talk before this series started was how well Pekka Rinne was playing and who could blame anyone for talking about him. He was clearly a huge reason why Nashville took the West by storm. His 1.70 goals against average and .941 save percentage was tops in these playoffs.
After two games, the roles are completely reversed. It’s Matt Murray that’s the talk of the town. Murray has posted a .938 save percentage through two games including stopping all but one of 38 shots faced in Game 2. Meanwhile Rinne has a .778 save percentage so far and was yanked in game 2 after giving up the Penguins fourth goal.
It seems the Penguins have just owned Rinne in his career. In ten games vs Pittsburgh, including these playoffs, he has a .865 save percentage. His lone win comes in a relief situation, not as a starter.
So far, it’s Rinne that’s costing the Predators and Murray that is shining for the Penguins.
Relax about the powerplay
It’s much easier to be critical about areas of play after a win instead of a loss. The powerplay has not been good through two games. Converting only 1 of 10 and that lone goal was scored on a full two minute 5 v 3 in Game 1.
It’s not just that it isn’t scoring, but for the most part has just looked disjointed. However maybe the powerplay doesn’t have to be good when the Penguins are capitalizing on Nashville mistakes. Now that I’ve said all of this, watch them convert on all their chances in Game 3. We wouldn’t be complaining about that as long as it ends in victory.