Wednesday’s Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final looked like a largely even contest between the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins at the end of the second period. The Predators had more shots, were great on the penalty kill and had won more faceoffs. It appeared that they were going to find a way to earn a split in Pittsburgh before heading home for Game 3.

Then… the bottom fell out, and now the Predators are staring down a 2-0 series deficit heading home to Nashville. They have never come back from a 2-0 series deficit to win any series in their history, and the Penguins haven’t blown a 2-0 series lead to lose a series since the second round in 2000 against the Flyers.

Ten seconds into the third period, Jake Guentzel snapped home his second goal of the game and 11th of the postseason to put the Penguins up 2-1.

With that goal, Guentzel became the highest scoring U.S.-born rookie ever in a single postseason with 19 points. At that point, he had scored three consecutive Penguin goals with a goalie in the cage.

The Predators have come back from deficits before this postseason, including some larger than 2-1. But then, just about two minutes later, the Penguins had a two-on-one, and this happened.

After Mattias Ekholm scored an own goal in Game 1, Vernon Fiddler had an unfortunate bounce go off of him and past his goaltender to make it 3-1. The Predators have shown remarkable resolve in this postseason to fight back in tough moments, but it would still get worse.

Following another fairly awful outing from Pekka Rinne, he was pulled in place of Juuse Saros who spelled Rinne during an earlier rough spell in the regular season. Compare this performance to those of Matt Murray, who has been remarkable in the Final, and the opportunistic Penguins have rolled on their way to a 2-0 series lead despite being punchless on the power play and being starkly outplayed for the first five periods of this series.

The Penguins would go on to score a fifth goal courtesy of former Predator Patric Hornqvist, though that was overturned on replay for offside. Pittsburgh shot down the Predators from there, only giving up five shots after they went up 4-1. Not only are the Penguins now 6-1 this postseason in games in which they were outshot by 10+, Pekka Rinne now has a .777 save percentage in the series and his GAA is hovering around 4.75.

The Predators will now try to become the sixth team in the history of the Stanley Cup Final to overcome a 2-0 series deficit to win the Cup, and the first in six years.

Game 3 is Saturday night in Nashville, where the Predators are 7-1 this postseason.

About Matt Lichtenstadter

Recent Maryland graduate. I've written for many sites including World Soccer Talk, GianlucaDiMarzio.com, Testudo Times, Yahoo's Puck Daddy Blog and more. Houndstooth is still cool, at least to me. Follow me @MattsMusings1 on Twitter, e-mail me about life and potential jobs at matthewaaron9 at Yahoo dot com.