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Preds at Pens Game Two: Five Things to Know

PITTSBURGH -- The Nashville Predators won the first game of each of their first three series but couldn't repeat that scenario in Game One of the Stanley Cup final. So for the first time this postseason, they'll be playing from behind tonight in Game Two at PPG Paints Arena.

The expectation is that the Penguins will certainly generate more offense than they did in Mondays' 5-3 victory, which saw them record only 12 shots on goal -- the lowest total for a winning team in the final since shots on goal became a statistic in 1958.

Tonight's game is on the NBC Sports Network with faceoff again in the 8:20 range. Here are Five Things to Know about Game Two:

No losing streaks: The Predators won Game One in each previous series by one goal. They've yet to lose two straight games in the playoffs.

"We knew what we were facing going into this series," Predators captain Mike Fisher said after today's morning skate. "They're an opportunistic team that finds ways to win. That game is behind us. We have to draw on what we did well and find ways to win, like they did in Game One.

"I know what we have in this room, what we're going to see and bring tonight. We know about the belief we have in here. We had a week off and there was a lot of excitement. Maybe sometimes you settle into a series a little bit when you get to Game Two. This is huge for us. We want to go home 1-1.

Battle of the nets: Pittsburgh's Matt Murray is 4-1 in the postseason with a 1.62 goals -against average and .936 save percentage. Nashville's Pekka Rinne has been spectacular at times in the playoffs but laid an egg in Game One, stopping just seven of 11 shots and posting a .636 save percentage that was the lowest in the expansion era for a playoff game.

"The best part of the playoffs is to get another chance against the same team," Rinne said today. "We don't need to change a lot. We played a strong game and we should feel confident."

"We know what we have in a goaltender," Fisher said. "He's been unbelievable in these playoffs and we know he'll be ready to go."

Cup Notebook: Predators' Pekka Rinne relishes long-awaited chance in the final

Looking for more from Kessel: Pens winger Phil Kessel has just one goal in his last six games and had no shots on goal while playing just 15:35 in Game One. His play of late has become a big topic in the Pittsburgh media. Kessel was moved away from Evgeni Malkin in the opener and has just two goals at even strength in the playoffs. He played just 50 seconds over the final 7 1/2 minutes Monday.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan would prefer to keep Kessel and Malkin together  if he can, but not if Kessel is giving him so little.

"When they're effective is when they're just playing the game the right way, winning puck battles, playing good on the wall, going hard on pucks and being difficult to play against," Sullivan said today. "It's a discussion we have a lot with them. Just try to be harder and stiffer to play against on puck battles. They're obviously very good when they have the puck. Our challenge with Phil and Geno is just the subtleties and the details with their play without the puck."

Pens are fast learners: Pittsburgh is 3-0 in Game Two this postseason, with the coaching staff using the lessons they learned in openers to outscore opponents, 13-5, in the second matchup. Said Sullivan: "It provides affirmation that your pre-scout was on and what you saw in the prior series was something you would see more of, or if teams are taking a different game plan against your team."

Guentzel the Gunner: Pittsburgh rookie Jake Guentzel snapped an eight-game drought with the tiebreaking goal to win Game One with just 3:17 to play on Monday. It was his league-leading 10th goal of the postseason and NHL-record fourth-game winner of the postseason, breaking the rookie mark set by Montreal's Claude Lemieux in 1986 and equaled by Colorado's Chris Drury in 1999. Guentzel is the fifth rookie in NHL history with at least 10 goals in  a postseason, the first since Boston's Brad Marchand had 11 in 2011.

Mike Harrington: Penguins survive bizarre opener with Guentzel goal, assist from offside challenge


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