Tha Sports Junkies 101

Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 after going 37 minutes without a shot

Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 5-3 after going 37 minutes without a shot Keith Allison/via Flickr


The Pittsburgh Penguins got outshot 26-12 on Monday, May 29th, in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Pittsburgh also went 37 minutes without recording a single shot on net. That’s 61.7% of the entire game.

The Penguins also, and probably most amazingly, won this game by a score of 5-3.

(Read the series preview here)

The First Period

This game started out with Nashville controlling the play entirely. 6:58 into the game, Nashville appeared to have the first goal of the Stanley Cup Final, when PK Subban scored on a shot from the point. Pittsburgh was quick to challenge this, though, saying the zone entry was offside. The call was overturned and the goal did not count. This blew the hockey community into a mad debate over whether or not the Nashville player’s skate was touching the ice upon entry, or if it was in the air.

Per Andrew Berkshire of sportsnet and RDS.

You be the judge of that.

At 13:50 into the first, momentum started to change when Calle Jarnkrok and James Neal of Nashville took penalties at the same time. This put Pittsburgh on a two man advantage.

Nashville was leading Pittsburgh in shots at the time 8-3.

Deep into Pittsburgh’s two man advantage, it seemed like Nashville might pull of the impossible and kill off the penalties. However, at 15:32, Evgeni Malkin would score the first goal of the Stanley Cup Final, to officially switch momentum to Pittsburgh’s side.

Pittsburgh would get two more goals in the period from Conor Sheary and Nick Bonino to go up 3-0 in the first.

The Second Period

A lot had been made about Nashville’s great top four defenders going into the Final. And in the second, it appeared we got the first taste of it.

The Predators would go the entire second period without giving up a shot to Pittsburgh.

Fun fact: no team has ever gone a whole period without giving up a shot and lost the game. Nashville didn’t want to become the first team to do so, but down 3-0, they had some work to do.

So, while not giving up a shot in the period, Nashville managed to get only one goal, from Ryan Ellis 8:21 into the period. This wasn’t doing the work they had to do.

While clearly Nashville was the better team in the second, they still didn’t dominate. Pittsburgh spent a considerable amount of time in Nashville’s zone despite not getting a shot.

The Third Period

Nashville started the third the same way they ended the second, good, but not dominant.

Just over half way into the third, the Predators had still not given up a shot to Pittsburgh. The Penguins last shot was a redirect that went in the net off a Nashville defender.

But 10:06 into the third, Nashville caught a break when Colton Sissons scored, making it 3-2 Pittsburgh.

Then, 13:29 into the third, Frederick Gaudreau scored his first ever NHL playoff goal, tying the game at 3.

The game was now tied at 3 and Nashville still hadn’t given up a shot to Pittsburgh for 1 and 3/4 of a period. That’s when Andrew Berkshire of Sportsnet and RDS tweeted this:

I believe this was in the back of everyone’s minds, but no one thought it would come true.

But then, with 3:17 left in the third, Jake Guentzel of Pittsburgh does this:

Per Jeff Veillette of The Leafs Nation

Pittsburgh would add an empty netter and win the game 5-3, taking a 1-0 series lead.

The Most Pittsburgh Game Ever?

The Penguins have made corsi look like a joke these playoffs.

(Corsi is basically the number of attempted shots. These can be block shots, missed shots or shots on goal.)

Pittsburgh has somehow found a way to win games night in night out without getting very many shots.

Pittsburgh currently has a shots plus/minus of -59. In the 20 playoff games they’ve played in, they have only out-shot their opponent in six of them. In the 13 wins they’ve gotten in the playoffs, they’ve out-shot a team in only five of those wins.

Outside of the conference final series against Ottawa, Pittsburgh has been relying on their goaltenders to hold them in games, and it’s the goaltenders that have gotten them this far. But can Matt Murray and/or Marc-Andre Fleury stand on their heads for another three games to get Pittsburgh the Stanley Cup for the second straight year?

Rest of the Series

While Murray has been great since taking over the net from Fleury, it’s safe to say that if Pittsburgh is going to win this series, they’ll need to generate a few more shots than they did in Game 1. I would look for Malkin and Sidney Crosby to keep killing it, while a guy like Sheary will have to step up.

As for Nashville, the key to winning this series is simple: Pekka Rinne. After giving up four goals on only 11 shots against, he’s got to be better if Nashville truly wants to win. This is assuming that Nashville doesn’t start young back up goalie Juuse Saros for Game 2 and beyond. Saros had a .923 save percentage and a 2.35 goal against average in 21 regular season games played, so he is a pretty capable goalie.

Game 2 starts at 8:00 EST on Wednesday, May 31st.