Rookie forward Jake Guentzel continued his torrid postseason pace, scoring twice Wednesday night to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 4-1 and take a 2-0 lead in the Stanley Cup Final. Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin scored 15 seconds apart in the third period at PPG Paints Arena as Pittsburgh again struggled for long stretches before finding a way to win. Guentzel’s league-leading 12 postseason goals have him two shy of Dino Ciccarelli’s rookie record, and his five playoff game winners are a rookie record.

Under siege through two periods, Pens goalie Matt Murray held the fort until Pittsburgh took over in the third, and he finished with 37 saves. Pontus Aberg scored for Nashville, and Preds goalie Pekka Rinne stopped 21 of 25 shots before being replaced by backup Juuse Saros, who made two saves.

For the second straight game, the Predators outplayed the Penguins much of the night. The Penguins’ power play went 0-for-5 with two shots through 40 minutes, and neither Sidney Crosby nor Evgeni Malkin registered a shot through the first two periods, while Malkin lost seven of eight faceoffs in that span. Despite the struggles, Pittsburgh appeared to get a lift from Nick Bonino, who hobbled to the locker room early in the game after taking a P.K. Subban slap shot off the left foot. Bonino returned briefly late in the opening period and appeared fine when he skated back out for the second.

Then came the opening minutes of the third, which ultimately decided the game. Malkin made up for his earlier ineffectiveness, finishing a 2-on-1 rush with a snipe that ended Rinne’s night.

Penguins rookie Murray is outplaying his veteran counterpart, and it isn’t close. Murray was a standout early, making 18 stops in the first period, none bigger than a larcenous left-pad rob on Filip Forsberg in the closing seconds of the period off a rebound of Aberg’s shot. Those back-to-back saves accounted for two of the seven stops Murray made in the final 34 seconds of the period.

It took a remarkable individual effort from Aberg to open the scoring with 7:03 left in the first. Crossing the blue line, Aberg went outside and beat Olli Maatta down the wing before outwaiting a sprawling Murray to give the Predators their first lead of the series. That lead ended with 3:24 left in the first period when Guentzel scored his first of the night. Rinne appeared porous on Guentzel’s tying goal, then kicking out a fat rebound directly to the rookie for his second of the night.

The series will resume Saturday night, as the Predators try to dig themselves out of the 0-2 hole when the series shifts to Nashville.

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