Pens lead Preds 1-0 after 1st period of Game 3

The decibel level in Bridgestone Arena was off the charts - and when it was all over, you could honestly say, the crowd practically willed the Predators to victory during Saturday's pivotal third game of the Stanley Cup final.

Pekka Rinne's impressive save sequence in the second period of Game 3 keeps the Predators' 2-1 lead intact.

"I thought the first part of the game, we did everything we wanted to do", coach Mike Sullivan said. "That's one game now - and we're going to move forward".

Nashville Predators right wing James Neal, left, celebrates with teammates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period in Game 3 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Saturday, June 3, 2017, in Nashville, . Their penalty kill allowed the first goal, as Roman Josi scored on a slap shot during a power play with Justin Schultz in the box for holding.

The Penguins went 0 for 3 on the power play in the game to fall to 1 for 13 in the series.

The Penguins lead the series 2-0. Full stop. But if it were ever okay - note: it is not - it would be way less okay to wear that jersey with your own name on it to the Stanley Cup Final. For the first time this series they were outscored, and now it's hard to look at Nashville as anything but favorites to win Game 4 at home Monday.

After the team scored their first goal, they didn't even have the time to bust out the chant because the second goal followed the first so quick. Josi scored on the ensuing power play, connecting on a shot from the right faceoff circle that deflected off the left glove of penalty killer Carter Rowney. Matt Murray saved 28 shots for Pittsburgh in the loss. Then Gaudreau, who scored his first career National Hockey League goal in Game 1, scored 42 seconds later to put Nashville ahead with his wrister from the high slot, taking advantage of a screen by Penguins defenseman Ian Cole to beat Murray glove-side.

The Nashville Predators and their fans finally have the game they've been waiting so very long to host.

There was never any real question that the Predators would come back with Rinne, who is their No. 1 goaltender, and the main reason they're in the final in the first place. "Day in and day out at practice, every game, he gives the same quality of performance".

Just after that go-ahead goal, the Penguins had a rush on Rinne, and the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist made back-to-back big saves.

But that would be literally the only highlight of the night for Pittsburgh as the Predators scored five consecutive goals.

Smith and Ekholm turned it into a laugher with their third-period goals.

The Predators got it started with a three-goal flurry in the second. Smith's goal on a breakaway at 4:54 was his first of the playoffs, and Ekholm padded the lead with a power-play goal with 6:50 left. They are 1-for-13 in the series. But Rinne had a 1.54 GAA and a.947 save percentage at Bridgestone Arena in the playoffs, and on Saturday, he was far sharper than he'd been the last couple of weeks.

  • Julie Sanders