Home ice has proven to be the difference maker in this series. The first two games of this series consisted of absolute domination by the Pittsburgh Penguins. By no means was Nashville playing bad, Pittsburgh was simply playing that much better.
The Penguins netted nine total goals in the first two games and they seemed to be running away with this series. Last night, however, all momentum held by the Penguins vanished as they Predators took game three 5-1.
“We knew what it was going to be like coming back home and we wanted to take advantage of it and we did,” Predators defenseman P.K. Subban said. “The first two games we played good hockey but that’s a championship team. You can’t afford to make the mistakes we made.
“A bad bounce early and we went down one-nothing but like our team has done the whole playoffs, we showed really good composure today and we’re going to take that into the next game.”
The Penguins struck early to take a 1-0 lead going into the second period with a goal from Jake Guentzel. This would be the only goal of the day for Pittsburgh while Nashville would go on to score five unanswered.
Roman Josi, Frederick Gaudreau and James Neal all scored for Nashville in the second period. The game remained stagnant at 2-1 until late in the third period when James Neal scored from close range to give the predators a 3-1 lead.
Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm each scored one goal in the third period which would be the nail in the Coffin for the Penguins.
“The first part of the game we did everything we wanted to do,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan told reporters. “Their first two goals in the second there, I thought our push-back was really good. We had seven or eight minutes of really good hockey.”
This game was an absolute must-win for the Predators as a 3-0 series defecit would have been very difficult to come back from. Nashville now has a chance to even this series at two.
The series resumes tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. on NBC.