The opening game of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final was nothing short of entertaining. The Pittsburgh Penguins got the best of the Nashville Predators, but not without a fight.

Penguins Bookend Predators

After about 15 and a half minutes of scoreless play, Evgeni Malkin put Pittsburgh on the board. The goal was his eighth of the postseason. A minute later, teammate Conor Sheary gave them a 2-0 lead on assists from Kunitz and Crosby. Nick Bonino capped off the period with just 17 seconds left before intermission.

Nashville finally broke through with a power-play goal from Ryan Ellis eight minutes and 20 seconds into the second period.

Colton Scissons continued the Predators’ run with the team’s second power-play goal 10 minutes into the third period. Then, under three and a half minutes later, Frederick Gaudreau tied the game up at three. The Pittsburgh crowd promptly went silent. Jake Guentzel remedied that with three minutes and 17 seconds remaining in regulation for his 10th postseason goal. Bonino sealed the win with an empty-netter with just over a minute to play.

Tossin’ Catfish in Pittsburgh

At the beginning of the second period, a Nashville fan, identified as Jacob Waddell, threw a dead catfish onto the ice. The event briefly interrupted play as the maintenance crew cleaned up the mess.

Catfish tossing is actually a tradition at Predators games. When the team joined the NHL back in 1998, fans wanted to do something special to set their home atmosphere apart. Many Midwesterners had established themselves in the Nashville area and looked to the Detroit Redwings for inspiration.

The “Legend of the Octopus” in Detroit involves the eight-tentacled sea creature being chucked onto the rink in 1952. It was during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and legend has it that that octopus spurred the team toward their Stanley Cup run.

Predators fans thought they would try their luck with a different sea dweller. The first recorded catfish toss was in 2003 and the odd tradition lives on today.

Waddell was removed from the arena and charged with three counts of felony, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Going Forward

There are some things to watch for as the series heads into Game 2 tomorrow night.

The first is to see how Nashville’s offense responds. P.K. Subban nearly had the first goal of the game, but the referees disallowed it after replay showed that Filip Forsberg was offsides. After going down 3-0 after one period, the Predators evened it out in the third period. This squad has a lot of weapons in its arsenal, it will just be a matter of how to maximize them.

The same goes for the defense. Nashville proved that they can hold Pittsburgh scoreless for more than half an hour. That is an incredible feat and they will certainly have to utilize more of that in Game 2.

Along the lines of talking about the defense, goaltender Pekka Rinne did not have the best night. Rinne allowed three of the four goals he attempted to defend in from his glove-hand side.

The Penguins need to tighten up their defense, especially to prevent the type of three-goal run they endured. One way to continue to counter that is with more offensive production from Guentzel. Guentzel had a lackluster Eastern Conference Finals against the Ottawa Senators but proved his worth again with the game-winner last night.

If this first game is any indication of how the rest of the series will be, it is sure to be a fun one.

Claudia Ceva is a Staff Writer for TheSportsBlaze.com.

About The Author

Claudia Ceva
College Basketball Writer

Claudia Ceva is a graduate of Syracuse University where she majored in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. Claudia is a beat writer for the Syracuse women's soccer team over at SB Nation's "Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician." When she's not writing, you can find her rooting for the Orange, New York Giants, Yankees, New York Rangers, and Knicks in-person or at home. She also dabbles in the musical arts in her spare time, when there are no games to watch.

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