Pittsburgh Penguins (Pens Lead Series 2-0) vs Nashville Predators
When: 8:00 PM ET, Saturday, June 3, 2017
Where: Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee
Lines: Nashville -133/ Pittsburgh +119
Tonight in NHL action, the Stanley Cup Finals resume and the Pittsburgh Penguins will brawl with the Nashville Predators in game three of their best-of-seven series, with the scene shifting to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. The Penguins have jumped out to a 2-0 series lead with 5-3 and 4-1 wins so far. The Penguins are 10-2 the last 12 games in this series, but the home team is 5-0 the last five.
Pens Grab 2-0 Series Lead Behind Guentzel
The Pittsburgh Penguins are the defending Stanley Cup Champions and they are off to a very good start in the finals this year. They took game one of this series by a score of 5-3 and then followed it up with a 4-1 win in game two. The Score was tied 1-1 until Jake Guentzel scored just 10 seconds into the 3rd period to put the Pens up for good. It was his 2nd goal of the game and the rookie now has three goals in this series and 12 goals in the postseason overall, which leads the league in the playoffs. He had 16 during the regular season. Also scoring in the win was Scott Wilson, which was his 3rd of the postseason and 11th of the year and Evgeni Malkin, which was his 9th of the playoffs and 42nd of the year. The Penguins have gone 5-4 on the road in the postseason so far and 24-26 on the road for the year.
Grabbing the win in game two was Matt Murray and he stopped 37 of the 38 shots that he faced in the game. Murray has now gone 5-1 with a 1.54 GAA and a .943 save percentage in the postseason this year, while in the postseason in his career he has gone 20-7 with a 1.95 GAA and a .928 save percentage. During the postseason so far the Penguins rank 1st in scoring at 3.19 gpg, while also ranking 13th in shots taken (29.2 spg) and 3rd in power play conversions, converting on 22.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they rank 5th in the playoffs in goals allowed, giving up 2.29 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots allowed (32.6 spg) and 9th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 16.1% of their chances.
Can The Preds Come Back and Make A Series Of It?
That remains to be seen. The Nashville Predators have been the biggest surprise in the postseason this year so far as they made it all the way to the finals as a number eight seed. Still, this is their first-ever trip to the finals and their inexperience may be starting to show, especially against an experienced team like the Penguins. The Preds have outshot the Penguins 64-39 in the series, but still they have been outscored 9-4 in the first two games. They have outplayed Pittsburgh, but are still down 2-0. The good news is that they have a chance to get back in it with two home games and they have gone 7-1 at home in the postseason so far and 31-18 at home for the year. In game two, the Preds did take a 1-0 lead and the game was tied 1-1 heading to the 3rd, but Pittsburgh scored three goals in a 3:18 span of time in the final frame to walk away with the win. Scoring their lone goal was Pontus Aberg, which was his 2nd of the playoffs and 3rd of the year.
Pekka Rinne took the loss in game two and allowed all four goals to the Pens, before being pulled early in the 3rd period in favor of Juuse Saros. Rinne is now 12-6 with a 1.96 GAA and a .929 save percentage in the postseason this year so far, while in the postseason in his career he has now gone 34-32 with a 2.38 GAA and a .916 save percentage. The Predators enter this game ranked 3rd in the league in scoring, in the postseason, at 2.83 gpg, while also ranking 11th in shots taken (30.2 spg) and 11th in power play conversions, converting on 16.7% of their chances. At the defensive end of the ice they rank 3rd in the postseason in goals allowed, giving up just 2.11 gpg, while also ranking 3rd in shots allowed (28.6 spg) and 4th in penalty kill, allowing teams to convert on 11.5% of their chances.
- The road team is 0-5 the last five games in this series
- 19-7 in their last 26 home games
- 6-2 in their last eight after scoring two goals or less in their previous game
The Predators have been a strong home team this year and the Penguins have been below average on the road. Nashville has outplayed the Pens in the first two games, but still, it is Pittsburgh that has a 2-0 lead in the series. The Penguins have the experience and talent edges in this series, but I have a feeling that the Preds will get one back here at home. They have gone 7-1 at home in the postseason and have allowed just 13 total goals in those games. Pekka Rinne was pulled in the last game and you can bet that he will be looking to get back here at home, where he has been so tough in the postseason. This should be a great game with the Predators coming out on top in the end.