Stanley Cup Final: Predators climb back into series with 5-1 romp

Game 3 is generally a pivotal game regardless of the series scoreline, but when one team is down 2-0, it becomes incredibly important.

Playing at home, where they are now 8-1 in the playoffs, everything clicked into place for the Predators.

Even more troubling, though, is the Penguins' penalty kill. Also in both cases, the Penguins won the next game. "It was a treat to watch".

The Predators took their first lead of the night 42 seconds later. "I think at those moments, you just mentally try to erase your mind and just focus on the next save, and remind yourself that you're still in the Final, and life's pretty good".

The Predators could afford themselves some comic relief after putting some juice back into the series with their play. Over the course of Nashville's run to the Stanley Cup Final, the surrounding community has embraced a number of unique rituals that Nashville can call its own. We gave up a few, and when we did he was there to shut the door just like he's been all year.

Rinne told reporters he knows who is starting in net for the Predators.

It was a heck of a goal.

Fans were a bit skittish after Pittsburgh was the first to score and we wondered if Pekke in fact WAS back on his game. He now trails Ciccarelli (1981) and Ville Leino (2010) by one for most points by a rookie in a single playoff run.

Had Pittsburgh scored another goal, this one could have ended differently.

Ironically, what many considered an advantage for the Penguins coming into the series - special teams - has led to the Predators getting on the scoresheet. Eventually, the Predators answered back.

Calle Jarnkrok connected on a nice saucer pass to Roman Josi, who controlled it and fired a slap shot that deflected off the glove of Carter Rowney and past Matt Murray to tie the game.

That was all the Predators needed. He took Viktor Arvidsson's feed from behind the net and banked it off Murray for a two-goal margin at the second intermission.

And then the second period happened.

"These first couple games, beginning of the game, it's been a battle", Rinne said. Freddy G had a breakaway but missed the net. They settled things down, but just when it seemed like they'd get to the third period down 2-1, they allowed former teammate James Neal to score with just 22.6 seconds remaining in the frame. He's 34, and he's been respected throughout his decade-long National Hockey League career, but he'd never faced anything approaching the criticism, scrutiny and outright embarrassment that followed Games 1 and 2. "It's always the next game until it's over". A huge game from the core leadership of this team. That's what we've been waiting to see. This time it was Phil Kessel who directed one off Rinne's pad right to Chris Kunitz, but Rinne was ready for the rebound and robbed Kunitz, prompting defenseman P.K. Subban to get really excited and say a very bad word. The differences in Game 3 were that Rinne was much, much better, they had some bounces go their way and coach Peter Laviolette's lineup changes had the desired effect. The point of the match in most put Mattias Ekholm.

"Usually when guys chirp after a game or during a game, it's usually about your game or something personal", said Subban. "He was terrific. I said that after Game 2. I thought we did a better job tonight".

After the game, Predators goalie Pekka Rinne backed up Subban's comments.

"He was terrific", he said of Rinne.

  • Julie Sanders