PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Penguins went exactly 37 minutes without a shot on goal in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Jake Guentzel broke the drought. And won the game.
Guentzel’s shot at 16:43 of the third period gave the Penguins a 4-3 lead over the Nashville Predators, and eventually the win in Game 1 on Monday night.
The Predators had absolutely dominated puck possession after the 19:43 mark of the first period, when the Penguins scored to make it 3-0. They rallied with three goals to tie it, but lost the game 5-3, as Nick Bonino added an empty netter.
Game 2 is in Pittsburgh on Wednesday night.
The Predators thought they had a 1-0 lead in the first Stanley Cup Final game in franchise history, as P.K. Subban blasted a shot that beat Matt Murray at 7:13 of the first period.
But the Penguins bench challenged the goal, claiming the play was offside. The coach’s challenge video review confirmed that forward Filip Forsberg preceded the puck into the attacking zone.
Instead, it was Pittsburgh going up 1-0 at 15:32 of the first period on the power play.
James Neal was given a minor for cross-checking Trevor Daley, while Calle Jarnkrok was given a phantom interference call on Patric Hornqvist. Evgeni Malkin’s blast from the top of the zone gave them the lead.
It was 2-0 at 16:37, as Conor Sheary scored his first of the postseason.
That was Chris Kunitz, hero of Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final, snapping a pass to Sheary for the one-timer goal.
Nick Bonino made it 3-0 on an own-goal by the Predators’ Mattias Ekholm.
The Predators limped back to the dressing room down 3-0, but got one back on the power play thanks to a Ryan Ellis blast.
That was goal No. 5 on the playoffs for Ellis, at 8:21.
The Predators then dominated possession. Completely dominated. The Penguins went the entire second period without a shot.
The Predators’ domination finally paid off midway through the third period, after Subban drew a slashing penalty on Malkin. Colton Scissons, whose hat trick powered the Predators to their Game 6 win over the Anaheim Ducks to win the West, cashed in to make it 3-2.
That was Neal, the former Penguin, crashing into Murray at the end of the play.
The Penguins, still without a shot since the first period, went on the power play later in the third, after a delay of game call on P.K. Subban for putting the puck over the glass.
Instead, it was the Predators tying the game, thanks to a remarkable shorthanded effort from forward Austin Watson.
Watson crashed the boards and took the puck away from two Penguins, skated around the net and fed Frederick Gaudreau for his first career playoff goal.
The Predators continued to dominate puck possession. The Penguins knew they needed just one good shot to turn the game around.
Jake Guentzel delivered it for his 10th of the playoffs; and, in the process, Game 1.
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