Stanley Cup Notebook: No Adjustments Necessary In Game 2

Posted at 4:48 PM, May 31, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-31 17:49:09-04

The Predators remain confident heading into game two of the Stanley Cup Final despite a 5-3 loss in game one.

They feel like they outplayed the Penguins for much of the night Monday, but got a few unlucky bounces with a goal being overturned on replay and a Pittsburgh goal bouncing in the net off Mattias Ekholm's shin pad.

"We hope maybe a bounce or two go our way like that because they sure are opportunistic," said Predators center Colton Sissons in reference to the way the Penguins capitalized on their limited chances in game one. "(We're) confident. We still have full belief in our group that we're going to go out and win a hockey game tonight."

The Predators believe their gameplan and effort in game one was good enough to win, but that they need to execute better.

They also expect a spirited effort from the defending champs who will be looking to take a 2-0 series lead before hitting the road for what will be a wild scene in Nashville for games three and four.

"We know they're going to be better, so we have to be better," Predators head coach Peter Laviolette said. "Yesterday we looked at some of the things we need to do better, today we looked at some of the things we're doing well, and we hope to bring that back to the ice tonight."


In an indication of the wackiness of the way game one was played compared to the final score, it may be the Penguins that are looking to make the bigger adjustments for game two.

Tops on the list is the need to shoot the puck more. Those 12 shots in game one yielded five goals, and as the Penguins pointed out after their morning skate Wednesday, good things generally happen when you send pucks towards the net.

"We were fortunate to score a lot last game, but I don't think that's the norm," Penguins center Nick Bonino said. "I don't think against a goalie like him that's going to happen often or a D like that, that's going to happen often. We have to find a way to get more chances."

The Penguins can't count on the same level of puck luck as they had in game one for the rest of this series, so they need to figure out a way to generate more chances against Pekka Rinne and the Predators' stingy defensemen.

The message in their locker room Wednesday was simple, "shoot the puck".

"We had a lot of chances to shoot the puck and we looked for the extra pass," Penguins center Scott Wilson. "We had more zone time than them, so we've got to shoot the puck and have guys crash the net and hopefully get some rebound goals."


The Penguins' desire to shoot more is music to the ears to the person you might least expect.

Rinne has been locked in on shots all playoffs for the Predators, stopping 94 percent of the pucks thrown his direction on the way to the Stanley Cup Final.

He made 38 saves in a whopping 41 shots in game six against the Ducks as the Preds' clinched the Western Conference title. But in game one against the Pens, Rinne gave up four goals in just 11 shots, including the game-winner from Jake Guentzel with 3:17 left after not seeing a single shot on goal in the previous 37:00.

It's hard for a goalie to stay sharp when he's not a part of the action.

"I think any coach is happy with a really low shot total and not a lot of chances," Rinne said. "But I think a lot of times for a goalie it gets easier to play the game when you see a lot of pucks. If you see 40 or 50 shots, it means there's a lot of so called 'easy saves', and it makes you feel good."

Rinne's ability to put his woeful game one behind him and feel good again in the crease is paramount to the Predators' chances in game two.

He knows it, and he's ready for all the action the Penguins throw his way.