Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward Jake Guentzel notched the game-winning goal just 10 seconds into the third period of Wednesday's Stanley Cup Final Game 2 victory over the Nashville Predators. The tally marked the 22-year-old's fifth game-winner this postseason, the most ever by a rookie player, per Sportsnet Stats.
Guentzel was selected in third-round selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft but spent the next three years playing at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He averaged approximately a point per game or more in each of those campaigns.
The Penguins and Guentzel agreed to an entry-level contract following his 2015-16 college season and he accumulated six points over 11 games with the team's AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton affiliate late in the season and added another 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 10 postseason contests.
After Guenztel netted 42 points over the first 33 games with Wilke-Barre/Scranton this season, Pittsburgh rewarded him with a promotion and he made his NHL debut in late November. Unflustered by the competition at the top level, Guentzel quickly worked his way into a top-six role and totaled 33 points over 40 games with the Penguins.
That success has carried into the postseason as well. While he had a quiet Eastern Conference Finals (just two assists in seven games), Guentzel has 17 points in the other 14 playoff contests. That total contains five game-winning goals, including both Game 1 and Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Guntzel's play has even garnered him some Conn Smythe Trophy buzz. Even if he doesn't wind up receiving the award, the Penguins appear to have gotten a steal out of a third-round selection.