Predators Even Up Stanley Cup At 2-2 With Victory Over Pittsburgh
It’s often said that a series isn’t truly interesting until a team can win on the road. However, the Nashville Predators are doing their part to make this statement true, without it being completely correct.
Down 2-0 to the Pittsburgh Penguins after being on the road, the Predators have now won the past two games on their own ice to tie the Stanley Cup Finals back up at two games apiece, defeating the Penguins 4-1 in Game Four Monday night in Bridgestone Arena.
Defending home ice is what Nashville does best, improving its record in the postseason at home to 9-0-1. The Predators also outscored Pittsburgh 9-2 over the past two games. Game Four saw the heroics of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne come to life once again – he stopped 23 of 24 shots in the game and 50 of 52 over the past two.
Nashville opened up the scoring with 14 minutes into first period, with Calle Jarnkok corralling a loose puck and despite a challenge for goaltender interference by the Penguins, the play stood. Pittsburgh would score just one minute later with a goal from who else but Sidney Crosby.
The rest of the game however was all Nashville, especially the second period. The Predators got their second goal from rookie Frederick Gaudreau – his third of the series – and Viktor Arvidsson brought the lead up to 3-1 on a breakaway ten minutes later with his first goal since Game Four of the Western Conference Finals.
The Predators put the game away for good with an empty-net goal in the third period and shut down the case for an easy Pittsburgh series. The Penguins had 57 shots attempts, with 21 of them coming by way of Crosby, Phil Kessel and Evengi Malkin combined, but only mustered up one goal.
After a difficult first two games, the story for Nashville has been all about Rinne. He had a tremendous moment in the second period where he lunged to both sides of the net to stop three shots in three seconds, igniting the home crowd. Penguins goalie Matt Murray, who stopped 22 of 25 shots in the game, was ultimately pulled for Marc-Andre Fleury in the final period.
Both teams will look to take a pivotal 3-2 lead on Thursday in Game Five at PPG Paints Arena back in Pittsburgh.