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Predators vs. Penguins Game 2 Picks

Hockey Betting Picks

The final score in Game 1 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals will forever read as follows:

Pittsburgh Penguins 5

Nashville Predators 3

But anyone who watched that game knows that the story to be told is far different than what the final score would suggest. Will Game 2 be a different script? The defending champs had better hope so.

Nashville Predators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins Game 2
Date and Time
: Wednesday, May 31, 2017, 8 p.m. ET
Location: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, PA
NHL Playoff Odds: Penguins -160, O/U 5
Predators vs. Penguins Game 2 TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network

The tale of Game 1 will be told as one of horrid fortune for the Predators. They had a goal disallowed in the first period thanks to a very questionable reversal of a P.K. Subban goal. From that point forward, the Penguins scored three times in succession to end the first period. The first came on a 5-on-3 that was the result of a dumb penalty taken by James Neal. The second came on a terrible rotation through defensive progression. The third was literally a self-inflicted wound with a puck bouncing off a defenseman and behind Pekka Rinne.

That was all over at 19:43 of the first period. The Penguins didn't get another shot on goal until 16:43 of the third.

In the interim, the Predators scored three times, once on a power play goal by Ryan Ellis in the second period, once on a Colton Sissons power play goal, and once on a Frederick Gaudreau strike just seconds after the conclusion of a Pittsburgh power play. The shots on goal in that span? Nashville 14, Pittsburgh 0.

Then Jake Guentzel happened. Guentzel logged his tenth goal of the postseason in style, a rocket from the circle that Rinne never had a chance at. PPG Paints Arena exploded in triumph, and an encore was had when Nick Bonino flipped one into an empty net with 1:02 left in the game.

It was an epic performance by the Predators, one that would have won probably 99 games out of 100. This though, happened to be the unlucky one, and it came in the biggest game in franchise history.

Key Factor

The stats for Rinne obviously aren't going to be pretty from Game 1. He stopped just 7-of-11 shots, his worst showing arguably of his entire career. But the man we're worried about is Matt Murray.

Murray was knocked flat on his face at the midway point of the first period, and it took a good three minutes of game time for him to get back to his feet. He didn't have to do much for the rest of the period, as that was Pittsburgh best stretch. But he really wasn't good in the final two periods, allowing three goals on 14 shots.

The leash should be short on Murray at this point, especially with Marc-Andre Fleury waiting in the wings. Sure, the Penguins have been great ever since putting Murray back in his post, but we're not so certain that he's playing anywhere near 100 percent at this point. This begs to be watched for sure.

Predators vs. Penguins Game 2 Free Picks

The Penguins might not feel like the right choice in Game 2, but we have a hunch they're going to come out and blow out the Predators. It's just so hard to come back from a game like that one to ultimately get back on your feet. Nashville expended so much energy to get back into a game that took just five or six minutes to get away from it, and in the end, after all that work, it was a rocket that came completely against the run of play that decided the game.

That flat out has to be demoralizing. For a team that has never been to the Stanley Cup Finals before, we just can't imagine this ending well for Nashville in 48 hours.

Predators vs. Penguins Game 2 Pick: Penguins -160 at BookMaker.eu
Predators vs. Penguins Game 2 Score Prediction: Penguins 5, Predators 1