Preds even Stanley Cup Final at 2-2, beat Penguins 4-1

(And to those in the 716, it means no coach for the Sabres this week, with General Manager Jason Botterill clearly needing this series to end before he can have his sitdown with Pittsburgh assistant Rick Tocchet and Nashville aide Phil Housley).

For a Stanley Cup Final that has been packed with goals, it is nearly surprising that it took Pittsburgh Penguins superstar Sidney Crosby four games to net one himself.

Predators goal scorers: Calle Jarnkrok scored at 14:51 of the first period on a rebound to give Nashville a 1-0 and Crosby scored on a breakaway 1:06 later to tie.

But the lead did not hold.

The Nashville Predators breathed new life into the Stanley Cup Final with a 4-1 victory over the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, squaring the National Hockey League championship series at 2-2 with three to play.

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne stops a shot by Pittsburgh Penguins center Jake Guentzel during the second period in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final Monday, June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. It was Crosby's first Cup final goal in 13 games, and his second in 20. Rinne finished the game with 23 saves on 24 shots.

And a long, bouncy, empty-net score for Filip Forsberg, who was long overdue for a goal in the Final, sealed the deal for the Preds late in the third, downing the Penguins, sending the series back to Pittsburgh and suddenly shooting Nashville back into contention.

Game five takes place in Pittsburgh on Thursday (01:00 BST on Friday).

Murray has given up eight goals in the past two games.

Hard to say what was more impressive about Nashville's performance in Game 3: Was it the way Pekka Rinne shut the door after giving up a not so good goal early in the game? Two nights earlier, he and Evgeni Malkin had failed to get a shot on net and the way that Crosby responded in Game 4 made it seem as though he took the outlier of a stat personally. This was probably Pittsburgh's best game of the Cup final, a show of desperation and smarts, and they still wound up swimming in an ocean of sound from the giddy, howling, pro wrestling-style Nashville crowd. "On the other side of things, we've got to make sure that we limit their chances, don't give up breakaways or chances where they can make us pay the other way".

Figure, Matt Murray had gone 5-1 with a.943 save percentage since Penguins coach Mike Sullivan turned to him in the middle of the Ottawa series. The score was tied at 1 at the time, and Nashville rookie Frederick Gaudreau scored Nashville's second of the game 16 seconds later on a wraparound that was not initially called a goal on the ice.

After the Penguins killed off a Ron Hainsey high-sticking minor, Rinne had his finest sequence of the night, making three saves in 3 seconds.

When the Penguins return home, it could be following a goaltender change, another thing nobody would have thought when the team plane went wheels up Friday afternoon.

The first was on Crosby, who enjoyed a mini-breakaway.

"You gotta trust what gets you here", Crosby said. It's Gaudreau's third goal of the Stanley Cup Final and the third goal of his entire career. Still, people filled three blocks of Broadway, even with Nashville opening up a downtown amphitheater for fans to watch.

  • Julie Sanders