Photo: Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire
Don Cherry led his Stanley Cup Final game two CBC Coaches Corner by ripping the Penguins first period effort.
Play-by-play data would strongly agree as the Predators more than doubled up the Penguins first period performance with a 112% advantage.
Period two was also convincingly won by the Predators by a 74% margin, but they could not take advantage of the three to one grade A scoring chance advantage they enjoyed through two periods of play.
The open net Jarnkrok missed at 6:04 of the first could have made it 2-0, but instead the Penguins converted a much more innocent chance a few minutes later when Guentzel put a bank shot of Rinne’s hip, where there appeared to be absolutely no room. Unless Guentzel can convince us he saw daylight, a measure of luck no doubt played a part, just like it did on the Penguins third goal when Fiddler stopped the puck through Rinne’s pads on a backcheck.
Nonetheless, Pittsburgh reduced their defensive mistakes by 24% from game one, and with the help of Murray, kept it close until their massive third period push allowed them to win the game and overtake the Predators in play-by-play contributions, by a narrow 6.7%.
Pittsburgh continued their excellent puck management from game one, beating their playoff average by 38% and the Predators by 44% in game two.
Through two games, the Penguins secret to overcoming stretches of poor to mediocre play has been minimizing turnovers and defensive mistakes, and converting scoring chances at a high rate.
Some help from your goaltender, and a little luck never hurts either.
1. Jake Guentzel and his two goals led all forwards in performance by a minimum of 35%, and he led the next best offensive contributor by 55%.
2. Evgeni Malkin and 3. Phil Kessel had similar contributions which were primarily on offense. Malkin created a 2 on 1 with a great chip and chase followed by a shot only a handful of players can make, and Kessel required a bit more luck as he evaded on a 2 on 1 and sent a puck to the net front with a scorer’s magic touch.
Nick Bonino was the leading defensive forward in game two.
1. Ian Cole and 2. Brian Dumoulin were the clear leaders on the Penguin blue line. Cole was key on the Penguins 5 on 3 penalty kill and was the leader defensively, while Dumoulin led the Pittsburgh defensemen on offense.
3. Trevor Daley was a distant third with a solid defensive performance, but was well below his playoff average in generating offense.
1. Filip Forsberg was the leading Predator forward overall, and Nashville’s best defensive forward in the game.
2. James Neil and 3. Pontus Aberg led the Nashville forwards offensively, highlighted by Aberg’s sensation rush and one on one move to score the Predators only goal.
1. Roman Josi was the clear leader again on the Nashville blue line, despite losing a close race on a third period neutral zone pinch that led to Pittsburgh’s second goal. Had Josi won the race to the puck, the predators had a clear 2 on 1 the other way, highlighting how important inches can be.
2. Ryan Ellis is performing 12% above his regular season average through the first two games of the Finals, but while his offense is up, his defense is less than half his regular season performance.
3. Mattias Ekholm was great defensively but struggled managing the puck offensively.
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