Finally, the Stanley Cup Finals are here!

First off, let me say that playoff hockey is the BEST hockey.  The hits are harder, the goals are more dramatic, and once you get to game 7, everything matters.  With that being said, last night marked the beginning of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.   The Predators have really surprised in the playoffs so far.  First, they swept the Blackhawks, then they beat the St. Louis Blues in six games, and in the third round, they beat the Ducks in six games.  Coming into last night’s game, the Predators were 12-4.  That ended last night with a 5-3 loss to Pittsburgh.

To start the score fest last night, Evgeni Malkin sent a slap shot home on a 5 on 3 powerplay.  One minute later, Conor Sheary scored his first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, give the Pens a 2-0 lead.  With 17 seconds left in the first period, Nick Bornio’s shot deflected off of Peka Rinne’s stick, hitting Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm, going into the net for a goal.

In the second period, Ryan Ellis scored for Nashville at the 8:21 mark, assists went to Subban and Fisher.  The Predators held the Penguins to zero shots in the second.  The NHL began tracking shots in the 1957-58 season, Nashville is the first team to hold the opposing team to zero shots in a period.

The Pens had a 3-1 lead coming into the last 20 minutes of play.  However; Nashville would end up tying the game 3-3.  Nashville’s Colton Sissons and Frederick Gaudreau would both score, with Gaudreau goal being his first of the playoffs.  Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel would break the tie with a goal at the 16:43 mark, for his 10th of the playoffs.  Nick Bornio would go on to score his second goal of the game, leading to a final score of 5-3.

“It wasn’t a perfect game, but we found a way and we know we’ve got a lot to improve on. … We’ll go over it and make sure we’re getting better with each game.” — Penguins captain Sidney Crosby

“I thought our guys played well. From start to finish, they played well. … We hate the score. We hate the result, but we move forward.” — Predators coach Peter Laviolette

Game 2 will be played on Wednesday, May 31st at 8 PM ET on NBCSN.

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