The Predators barely allowed a shot on goal in game one of their first ever trip to the Stanley Cup Final. The only problem is that most of the ones they did allow found their way into the back of the net.
The Preds outshot the Penguins 26-12 in game one, but lost 5-3 thanks in part to an own goal and an empty-netter that put the Pens over the top.
Pittsburgh scored three goals in just over 4:00 in the first period, but Nashville put the clamps down after that, not allowing a single shot on goal for the next 37:00. The Penguins had never gone a period without a shot in a playoff game before, and nearly went two full period in this game.
"I know we were doing a good job defensively, but I didn't know the numbers," Laviolette said. "I think again it goes back to our respect of the opponent. They have some really good players that put us on guard defensively."
It was the longest streak without a shot on goal in a Stanley Cup Final game since they started keeping track of shots in 1957.
"You look up the whole second period and don't get a shot," said Nick Bonino, who had two of the Penguins goals, including an empty-netter late. "Guys were saying? 'Shoot!' We need to shoot more. It's tougher than it seems."
The Predators will hope to make it equally hard on the Penguins in game two.
HE IS HUMAN AFTER ALL
Pekka Rinne was bound to have a clunker at some point during an otherwise superb postseason.
It came in game one when the Predators' goaltender gave up for goals in the first nine shots he faced, including the game-winner by Jake Guentzel with just 3:17 left, which was the first shot he saw in 37:00.
It was by far the worst effort of the playoffs for Rinne, who would be the Conn Smythe Award winner as MVP of the playoffs if the Predators win the Stanley Cup after posting a save percentage of better than .940 through the first three rounds.
And while this was a historically bad night at the office, the Predators expect Rinne to rebound in game two.
"Since day one that I've been here, Pekks has been our best player night in, night out," defenseman Ryan Ellis said Tuesday. "He's one of the best, if not the best goalies in the league and I expect him to bounce back."
GAUDREAU TO THE RESCUE
A big key to the Predators' postseason success has been their balance, and that continued in game one against the Penguins.
Twenty-three year old forward Frederick Gaudreau scoring the game-tying goal in the third period on his first career playoff shot.
It was jus Gaudreau's third playoff game after he was moved into the lineup following the injuries to Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher in the Anaheim series.
Gaudreau stayed in the lineup for game one of the Final thanks to Colin Wilson getting scratched and once again made the most of his opportunity.
"It's pretty special," Gaudreau said. "Everything has been so fast the past couple weeks, but I'm just focusing on the job I have to do."