The Nashville Predators once again outplayed the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins, but this time they were rewarded for their efforts with a 5-1 win to get back in the best of seven series and now trail the Penguins 2 games to 1. Game 4 is Monday night in Nashville at 7:00 PM.
After giving up a goal on the very first shot of the game, the Predators reeled off five unanswered goals of their own, getting scores from five different players to win their first ever Stanley Cup Final game. For the most part, like the other games, the Predators, were the better team, out-hitting, out-shooting, but most of all, out-hustling the Penguins. The Predators vaunted defense held Pittsburgh’s talented tandem of Sidney Crosby and Evengi Malkin without a shot on goal the entire game. The special teams came through for the Predators, as they went two of three on their power play, while stopping Pittsburgh all three times when they had the man-advantage.
Jake Guentzel remained red-hot for the Penguins, getting his 13th goal of the playoffs just 2:46 into the game to temporarily quiet the insane home crowd at Bridgestone. But the early goal seemed to be a wake-up call for goalie Pekka Rinne and the rest of the Predators. They soon turned away a Penguins power play and out-skated Pittsburgh the rest of the 1st period. The frame came to an end with the Penguins leading 1-0, but Nashville had their legs, their confidence, and their crowd.
Roman Josi got the scoring party started for the Predators with a power-play goal at 5:51 of the 2nd, and Frederick Gaudreau scored just 42 seconds later to give the Predators a 2-1 lead 6:33 into the 2nd. Former Penguin James Neal scored with only 23 seconds left in the period to give the Predators a 3-1 lead after the 2nd period.
Craig Smith scored on a breakaway 4:54 into the 3rd, and Mattias Ekholm added a power-play goal for the Predators at 13:10 to complete the scoring and send the frantic crowd home with the convincing 5-1 win.