Subban irked by Malkin’s Russian trash talk: ‘I didn’t like what he said’

With emotions reaching a boiling point, unlikely combatants P.K. Subban and Evgeni Malkin (sort of) engaged in a fight during the third period of Game 2 Wednesday night.

Pittsburgh had exploded for three goals to start the third period, and after a heated exchange behind the goal, Subban and Malkin dropped the gloves, which the Predators defenseman claims started because of some foreign smack talk.

"He spoke a little Russian. I played with a few Russians. I didn't like what he said," Subban told reporters following the game, according to TSN's Frank Seravalli.

Malkin, who unleashed a laser wrist shot to provide Pittsburgh's fourth goal, said the scrap was nothing personal.

Playoff hockey.

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Penguins take 2-0 series lead with Game 2 win over Predators

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins kept Pekka Rinne plenty busy this time.

Too busy for Rinne and the rest of the Nashville Predators to keep up with the surging defending Stanley Cup champions.

Jake Guentzel, Scott Wilson and Evgeni Malkin scored 3:18 apart early in the third period as the Penguins chased Rinne and pulled away for a 4-1 victory in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday night. The Penguins lead the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 3 is Saturday night in Nashville in what amounts to a last stand for the Predators and their suddenly very average-looking goalie.

The 22-year-old Guentzel finished with two goals to give him an NHL-high 12 during the playoffs, the second-most by a rookie in postseason history. His 19 playoff points are the most by an American-born first-year player and he'll have at least two more cracks at adding to that total.

If the Predators don't get it together back home in ''Smashville,'' it might only be two.

Matt Murray played spectacularly at times through the first two periods, buying his teammates enough time to find their footing and get to Rinne. Murray finished with 37 saves in all as he helped move the Penguins to within two victories of becoming the first team to go back-to-back since the Detroit Red Wings in 1998.

Pontus Aberg scored the lone goal for the Predators, who were once again undone by a sudden barrage from the NHL's highest-scoring team.

In Game 1, the Penguins pushed three goals by Rinne in a span of 4:11 in the first period to build a 3-0 lead. The Predators rallied to tie before Guentzel's go-ahead goal with 3:17 remaining put the Penguins ahead to stay.

This time, Pittsburgh's flurry came a little bit later. And it was once again led by the baby-faced son of a coach who has no problem shouldering the responsibility of playing alongside star Sidney Crosby.

The game was tied at 1 at the start of the third period when Guentzel jumped on a rebound 10 seconds into the period to put Pittsburgh ahead. Wilson was credited with his third of the playoffs just over 3 minutes later when a centering pass caromed off Nashville's Vernon Fiddler and by Rinne.

Malkin added his ninth of the playoffs and second of the series just 15 seconds later and Rinne was skating to the bench in favor of backup Juuse Saros after stopping 21 of 25 shots. Rinne fell to 0-5-0 in five career starts in Pittsburgh and he has never beaten the Penguins anywhere as a starter.

The Penguins vowed to put more pressure on Rinne than they managed in their 5-3 victory in Game 1, a win they managed despite going 37 minutes without throwing a single puck Rinne's way and none in the second period, the first time that's happened since the NHL started tracking shots in 1957.

The Penguins matched their entire shot total from the opener (12) by the end of the first period but still found themselves trying to keep up with the Predators. The Stanley Cup newbies were disappointed but not dismayed by their Game 1 loss, pointing to the way they carried play for long stretches as tangible proof they weren't just happy to be here.

The result was the kind of up-and-down play that showcased the speed on both sides and included more than a dash of antagonism, particularly early.

Nashville's Matt Irwin drilled Pittsburgh's Matt Cullen from behind into the boards in the first period, a hit that left the 40-year-old Cullen headed down the runway for a quick check but didn't result in a penalty. Minutes later, Penguins forward Chris Kunitz became tangled up with P.K. Subban and ended up cross-checking Subban in the head, part of a sequence that saw Malkin go off for hooking. Malkin and Subban even ended up fighting in the third period when things got out of hand.

It was a scene hard to imagine through the first two taut and chippy periods.

The 23-year-old Aberg beat Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta to a puck in the Penguins zone, passed it through Maatta to himself and then patiently drew Murray out of the net before flipping it by the sprawled goaltender.

The Penguins, as they've done when pressed throughout the postseason, responded almost immediately.

Guentzel, who snapped an eight-game goalless drought when he pumped the winner by Rinne with 3:17 left in the series opener, tied it later in the period. The 5-foot-11 rookie planted himself at the post and jabbed a backhand rebound to tie it.

Pittsburgh stayed in it thanks to Murray and when Pittsburgh returned to the ice for the start of the third they, as coach Mike Sullivan is fond of saying, ''got to their game.''

A style that now has the Penguins two victories away from history.


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Guentzel sets playoff goals, points record by American-born rookie

Jake Guentzel, so hot right now. If you haven't already, spare a second and Google him.

Now that we're on the same page, take in the fact that the Pittsburgh Penguins wunderkind stole the show once again Wednesday night, registering two goals in the Penguins' 4-1 dismantling of the Nashville Predators.

Guentzel's 11th and 12th tallies of the postseason moved him into some elite company, again. The 22-year-old Omaha, Neb., native now ranks second all-time in goals by a rookie in a single postseason, according to NHL Public Relations.

However, the winger's decimation of the rookie record book didn't finish there, as Guentzel's 19 playoff points are also record setting.

His dozen playoff tallies are good for the league lead, and his 19 points place him in a tie for third behind Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby.

The cherry on top? Guentzel's 12th of the playoffs was also the Game 2 winner, pushing his 2017 postseason game-winning goal total to an impressive five.

Shocker, that's also good for a rookie playoff record.

If Guentzel keeps up this ridiculous pace, expect his name to be in serious consideration for the Conn Smythe Trophy.

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Watch: Subban, Malkin engage in awkward fight late in Game 2

It was more of an extended hug than a fight, but Evgeni Malkin and P.K. Subban did their best to fire up their respective squads Wednesday night.

The Pittsburgh Penguins forward and the Nashville Predators defenseman got up close and personal after a stoppage with the Penguins leading by three late in the third period in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Malkin landed a blow to Subban's face while the two were being separated, and the Nashville blue-liner got some punches in near the end, but the prolonged hug is how people will remember this one.

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Rinne pulled after allowing 3 quick 3rd-period goals

The Nashville Predators opted to pull netminder Pekka Rinne early in the third period of Game 2 on Wednesday night, after allowing three goals in the first 3:28 of the final frame, creating a 4-1 deficit.

Rinne was replaced by Juuse Saros, who's making his first-ever postseason appearance.

The 34-year-old Rinne entered Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final with sterling postseason numbers - a 1.83 goals against average and .934 save percentage in 17 games.

However, after allowing four goals on 11 shots in Game 1, the troubles continued for Rinne versus the Penguins, as goals from Jake Guentzel, Scott Wilson, and Evgeni Malkin ultimately chased him from the contest.

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Watch: Titans, catfish slam beers for Predators

As if we needed any more confirmation, the Tennessee Titans know how to party.

Some of the club's players, including star quarterback Marcus Mariota, were back at it in support of the Nashville Predators during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final on Wednesday.

The network broadcast cutting to a Predators watch party was the cue for a few Titans, along with their accompanying catfish, to down their beers.

The Titans' frat party-like support of their local hockey team is becoming something of a tradition during the Predators' playoff run. Taylor Lewan led the charge last week as Nashville secured its trip to the Stanley Cup Final with a win over the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final.

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Watch: Aberg burns Maatta, roofs dazzling goal

Pontus Aberg made Olli Maatta look foolish early in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

The Nashville Predators winger blew past the Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman and slipped the puck over goaltender Matt Murray to open the scoring Wednesday night.

It was Aberg's second goal of the playoffs, and his first since scoring the winner in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks.

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Look: Pittsburgh restaurant offering up ‘Imported’ catfish special

The Stanley Cup Final has been a hot topic this week, but a lot of that chatter has to do with some fishy business.

Wednesday was more of the same before Game 2 in Pittsburgh, with a local restaurant offering up a very unique dinner special.

No word yet on whether the offer comes with compression shorts.

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Notre Dame goalie Cal Petersen turning pro

Cal Petersen's college days are over.

The Notre Dame goaltender will forego his final year of eligibility with the intention of signing an NHL contract this summer, the school announced on his behalf Wednesday.

Petersen was a fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Sabres in 2013, and they'll now have 30 days to sign him, unless he opts to pursue a deal with another club.

The 22-year-old was one of five finalists for the 2017 Mike Richter Award given annually to the nation's top NCAA netminder.

He went 23-12-5 with a 2.22 GAA, a .926 save percentage, and six shutouts in 40 games in his junior season for the Irish.

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Nolan Patrick medically cleared for all tests at NHL combine

Top prospect Nolan Patrick has been fully cleared to participate in all tests this weekend at the NHL Combine, he confirmed Wednesday to Mike Morreale of

Patrick was limited to 33 games this season with the Brandon Wheat Kings, ailed by sports hernia surgery and a later injury to his leg.

Related: Nolan Patrick unfazed by injuries possibly affecting draft stock

Despite the shortened season, Patrick managed 20 goals and 26 assists, and finished atop the NHL's Central Scouting final rankings.

All eyes will be focused on Patrick over the course of the combine, particularly the New Jersey Devils, which won the right to select first overall in April's draft lottery.

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