However you feel about the context of each call, it’s tough to deny that some big decisions ended up going favorably early for the Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.
In a rare span, the Predators were whistled for two penalties during the same sequence in the first period, giving the Penguins a 5-on-3 advantage for a full two minutes. Pittsburgh started off the advantage a little rocky, but then Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0. (Video of that tally in the headline above.)
The controversy comes as Sidney Crosby seemed to get away with interference/elbow shortly before that goal was scored. That sequence will feed a conspiracy theory or two.
The Predators have managed to avoid tough stretches for much of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but things seemed to really escalate from there. The Penguins managed three goals in a staggering 4:11 of game time, with Nick Bonino putting a puck off Mattias Ekholm for a painful own goal, making it 3-0 as the first period concluded.
The Penguins seemed to take control of the game after that disallowed goal, adding to the argument that some combination of the decision and the slowdown helped turn the tide.
How will the Predators respond to this adversity in Game 1? Find out on NBC and via the stream below.