PITTSBURGH -- The winning team went nearly two full periods without a shot. The hottest goaltender in the playoffs was only tested 11 times in 58 minutes -- and lost.
No wonder Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan described his team's 5-3 victory over Nashville in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final as "bizarre."
And that doesn't even include the catfish tossed onto the ice by a Predators fan at PPG Paints Arena in the middle of a second period. The fish that splatted on the Nashville blue line earned the thrower three misdemeanor charges and also came as close to Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne as anything the Penguins managed during 20 minutes in which the highest-scoring team in the league couldn't even muster a single shot.
"It's not always pretty," Sullivan said Tuesday. "We don't get points for style. But what I love about our team is that we find ways to win, we compete."
True, though for the majority of Game 1, the competition was pretty one-sided. The Predators controlled the pace and the puck, just not the scoreboard. It left the guys from "Smashville" in a new position for the first time since they began their mad dash to the final a month ago: chaser instead of chasee as Game 2 looms on Wednesday night.
"Now we face a little adversity," said defenseman Ryan Ellis, who scored the first Stanley Cup Final goal in team history. "We see what kind of group and character we have to bounce back" (see full story).
NHL: Catfish tosser says he was 'dumb redneck with a bad idea'
PITTSBURGH -- A Tennessee man is describing himself as a "dumb redneck with a bad idea" after police filed charges against him for throwing a catfish onto the rink in Pittsburgh during the opening of the Stanley Cup Final.
Police say 36-year-old Jacob Waddell threw the dead fish over the glass surrounding the rink on Monday night during the Nashville Predators-Pittsburgh Penguins game.
He was ejected and charged with disorderly conduct, possessing instruments of crime -- in this case, the fish -- and disrupting meetings or processions.
Waddell told Nashville radio station WGFX-FM that he came up with the idea ahead of a trip to see relatives in Ohio.
He said that "like an ignorant redneck, I thought, `Wouldn't it be awesome to throw a catfish on the ice at this game?'"
Nashville Mayor Megan Barry released a statement asking that "any charges for throwing a catfish on to the ice would be quickly dismissed."
Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto suggested in a statement that Waddell perform community service as punishment -- "perhaps cleaning fish at Wholey's," a prominent fish market in the city.
The Penguins won the game 5-3. Game 2 is Wednesday.
Hockey has a long tradition of objects being thrown on the ice, usually in affection like when fans toss hats to mark hat tricks. There are odd offerings, too, including the time-honored tradition of Detroit Red Wings fans throwing octopi during the playoffs.
Capitals: MacLellan plans tweaks, not overhaul
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Brian MacLellan has the power to completely remake the Washington Capitals in the wake of another early playoff exit and he faces a salary-cap crunch that would justify it.
The general manager doesn't expect anything so drastic. He said Tuesday that he expects to tweak and retool on the fly rather than overhauling the roster of a team that won the Presidents' Trophy in back-to-back seasons but hasn't made it past the second round in the Alex Ovechkin era.
"I don't think it makes sense in my mind just to blow it up or make a major change," MacLellan said. "It's a lot easier to make this team worse than it is better."
Trade Ovechkin or All-Star center Nicklas Backstrom? Not in the cards right now. Fire Barry Trotz? Maybe check back next season for the coach with one year left on his contract.
Changes are coming to the Capitals by default because wingers T.J. Oshie and Justin Williams and defensemen Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk are unrestricted free agents, and young players Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dmitry Orlov, Andre Burakovsky and Nate Schmidt are the priority as restricted free agents with raises coming. All that, plus a salary cap that isn't likely to rise much from $73 million, means it will be impossible to keep this band together after an inexplicably flat Game 7 loss in the second round to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"I think we're going to be a good team still," MacLellan said. "I don't know that we'll be at this level. We'll be competitive. I'm not sure what happens" (see full story).
Wild: Stevens resigns to be with family
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild assistant coach Scott Stevens has resigned after one year with the team, citing a desire to spend more time with his family in New Jersey.
The Hall of Fame defenseman played 13 of his 22 seasons in the NHL for New Jersey while captaining the team to three Stanley Cup championships. He spent three years on the coaching staff with the Devils from 2012-15 and was an NHL Network analyst the season before he was hired by the Wild.
In a statement distributed Tuesday by the team, Stevens said his time in Minnesota was "a fantastic experience." The Wild had a franchise-record 106 points before losing in the first round of the playoffs to the St. Louis Blues.
The 53-year-old Stevens and his wife, Donna, have three children.