The Predators put together a complete performance and tie the series up at two each.
The first period started with some heavy defensive play and not a lot of shots, but the game opened up a bit after an early Preds power play went scoreless. The Penguins mounted some pressure, getting a few shots on goal, and then the Preds countered with pressure of their own. They finally broke through when Calle Jarnkrok hammered home a rebound in front of Matt Murray to make it 1-0.
Shortly after that, Sidney Crosby snuck in behind the Predators’ defense and buried a backhand by Pekka Rinne to tie it up. It wasn’t ideal. Then later, the Preds had to kill off a James Neal penalty, which carried over into the 2nd period.
The Preds killed it off and then went to work. They started pouring on the attempts in the Pittsburgh end. Things were looking swell when Frederick Gaudreau wrapped around a puck that it looked like Murray stopped. But on replay? He definitely did not. The Preds took a 2-1 lead on Freddy Hockey’s third goal of the playoffs.
Then something even more incredible happened. Pekka Rinne made
an unbelievable save magic happen on ice. His quadruple save kept the score at 2-1. Then, Viktor Arvidsson capitalized on a beautiful Mike Fisher desperation pass to make it 3-1.
This place went banana nuts crazy. Go ape, indeed.
The 3rd period was an intense scene. The Preds trying to nurse a 3-1 win, the Penguins desperately trying to get back into the game. Things were going well for a little while, but then with 7:04 remaining, P.K. Subban took a puck to the back of the leg. It looked bad, he was down for a little bit and play was stopped.
No big deal, he returned a few moments later. Crisis averted. Then Filip Forsberg tallied an empty netter to seal it
Pekka Rinne finished with 23 saves and was such a huge part of this win.
The Stanley Cup will be in Nashville on Sunday.
- Today’s warmup fun: No Colin Wilson, but Anthony Bitetto goes out there for some reason. Also Cody McLeod. The crowd cheered for Subban when shown on the video board. Nick Bonino skated in warmups for about 3 minutes before leaving.
- Penguins have moved Hagelin and Hornqvist on the Malkin line. Should be an interesting matchup. We can expect Malkin to shoot more often in this game with Horny in front of the net. Also, Phil Kessel is on the 3rd line with Cullen and Kunitz.
- Plenty of hitting and passing in the first few minutes. Not many shots though.
- Forsberg had a wide open chance, but I think he had more time than he thought. He cranked a slapper right into Murray’s pads, but he had time to do some dangling.
- Preds look a bit out of sorts as the Pens bring some pressure.
- AND THEN THAT! Calle Jarnkrok pounces on a rebound! It’s 1-0! Penguins challenged for goalie interference, but it’s called a good goal. WHOO HOO!
- Oh wow. How can you let Crosby sneak in like that? Bad news there. Tie game.
- The Preds are starting to run downhill again, acting like they belong here or something.
- Uh, I think that’s a freaking goal.
- I mean what else is there to say about this kid? HE SHOULDN’T EVEN BE HERE.
- Power play: why do they work so hard to gain the offensive zone and then when they do and they have options to drop on the blueline with control, they still cycle around. It is frustrating to watch.
- Pekka Rinne just had one of those saves that you stare at yourself in the reflection of the screen and think “Who even am I?”... he stopped the initial shot, the follow up, then sprawled across the entire goal crease to stop more shots.
- And soon after? Viktor freaking Arvidsson scores on a breakaway! An incredible pass from Fisher, who laid it out on the ice while being taken to the ground.
- The Preds are on it so hard right now. This is incredible They finished the 2nd period with some intense pressure, peppering the Pittsburgh zone and cycling the puck to perfection.
- I can’t take this 3rd period. Can’t take it.
OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game
- Pekka Rinne: He was dynamite the whole game and even made a great effort to keep up with Crosby on his breakaway goal.
- Viktor Arvidsson: He never quits and finally got his reward for it after being held without a goal since the Chicago series.
- Freddie Gaudreau: He now has as many goals as the Chicago Blackhawks.