Nashville Preys On The Penguins And Ties Stanley Cup Series 2-2
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 07, 2017,
Jun 07, 2017, 10:26
He hasn't been flawless, but Rinne stopped 23 of 24 shots on Monday, including more than a few that even we are mystified as to how they stayed out. They "got to their game" (another of Sullivan's favorite mantras) repeatedly in Game 4 only to lose.
The Penguins head back to Pittsburgh having been outscored 9-2 in Nashville.
The hockey series now has an average local rating of 8.6 for the four games, two of which were on cable's NBCSN. Despite the struggles, though, I expect the 23-year-old to be between the pipes in Game 5 back home. "Could have had (different) results in both those games".
In other words, Nashville knows the score, or thinks it does. Hockey analysts will try to pinpoint reasons why the Penguins are losing but at the end of the day, maybe Pittsburgh is simply out of gas.
Just 66 seconds later, Crosby tied it up for the Penguins on a dazzling breakaway. In order of ice time in the final, here is Pittsburgh's defence: Brian Dumoulin, Ron Hainsey, Olli Maatta, Trevor Daley, Justin Schultz and Ian Cole.
Crosby was coming off a shot-less Game 3, however, and was joined in that regard by Evgeni Malkin, the NHL's highest scoring player this spring (26 points). Forwards don't do that if you have any kind of big-time defencemen - ever. He wasn't bad, but it's a wonder that he wasn't pulled after surrendering five goals in Game 3 and an ugly three goals in Game 4.
Bridgestone for the first time in its history sold out all regular season home games, and has done so in the playoffs to the tune of a 9-1 record. Only one of them is 36. The Penguins didn't get this far on luck, or chance.
The last three times the Stanley Cup Final went seven games - 2011, 2009 and 2006 - it was the road team winning the championship.
"Well, obviously it's hard to win when you score one goal", Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. Pittsburgh now has to go home - where it's been very, very good - and win. They understand the circumstances.
The Penguins now have a similar question facing them with Matt Murray, who once again looked vulnerable in Monday's loss. "We were disappointed that we ended up on the wrong side of the score, but there was a lot to like about that game". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Probably the only article written by a Pittsburgh area hockey writer that I've actually enjoyed over the last few weeks. And then, when Rinne somehow stopped Crosby on a breakaway, then Crosby's rebound, then two diving saves off the scramble, the momentum never swung back.
Too much of Monday night, too much of Game 4, there was Crosby. Third, the power play could finally click.
Craig Smith, who had two of Nashville's first six shots, ricocheted a puck off Murray's pads that Jarnkrok tapped in at 14:51 to start the fans yelling.
The Preds got on the board, with Calle Jarnkrok getting the best of Pittsburgh goalkeeper Matthew Murray in the first period. They were blitzed by Ottawa early, and gradually found a way through Guy Boucher's traps.
The Pittsburgh Penguins' center skated briefly with his teammates before Game 4 in warm-ups. Nashville's depth players and middle-of-the-road players have badly outplayed its counterparts with the Penguins.
This Final hasn't been one-sided, unless you believe, as I do, that the Nashville Predators have been the better skating team for all but 11 of the 240 minutes played in the first four games.