Nashville leaning heavily on defense corps against Penguins

Sheri Evans
June 6, 2017

The Stanley Cup Finals continue on Monday night, with Game 4 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins entered this series 14 for 56 (25.0 percent) on the power play through the first three rounds of the playoffs and 5 for 9 over the last four games in their seven-game win over the Senators in the Eastern Conference final.

Viktor Arvidsson gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at the 13:08 mark of the second and they were able to hold onto the cushion against Crosby and Co. After the Penguins scored first, the Predators took control of this one with three goals in the second period, the reward for Nashville flipping momentum in its favour around the midpoint of the first.

This had been a weird series through two games, from the disallowed goals to Pekka Rinne's uncharacteristically shaky play to Pittsburgh stealing Game 1 despite a comically long shooting drought. Just like he did in Game 3, Pekka Rinne again came up big in goal, allowing just one goal on 24 shots.

Penguins' center Nick Bonino arrived in Nashville ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final wearing a walking boot and using crutches to get around. Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm scored in the third period as the Preds won their first ever home final. The Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to play Game 4 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals, Monday. He remains day-to-day and will be a game-time decision so it appears. Shooting 23.1 percent compared to the 6.3 of the Predators, the Penguins, maybe not deservedly so outside their goaltender, were 2-0 up in the series. "He's a real good penalty killer".

They've taken care of that in the first period of Game 4. The series stays in Nashville for Game 4 on Monday night. "He's helped us win a lot of games".

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But they seemed to settle down in the second period when the chances they had created for the previous seven periods finally started finding the back of the net.

It would be nice to see Phil Kessel load up on that left wing and unleash some blasts on a goalie that was shaky in the first two games of the series. The five goals he gave up in Game Three marked just the fourth time in 88 National Hockey League starts (regular season and playoffs) that he's given up five or more.

The Predators are so popular in Nashville that even an outdoor viewing party is a tough ticket.

Rinne, who had been pulled in Game 2 and who had a.778 save percentage combined in the first two games of the series, was back to his MVP-worthy form.

With 22.6 seconds remaining in the second period, James Neal tucked in a loose puck to make it 3-1. "I thought the whole team did a better job in front of him, not giving up odd-man rushes". "If you go back and look, try to figure out the amount of plays that they figured into that created scoring chances; they're both excellent passers, they're both capable of scoring goals obviously too". The coach asks fans to avoid both putting players and officials in danger and penalties. With Justin Schultz off for holding Harry Zolnierczyk at 4:13, the Predators got their initial power play.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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