What a Stanley Cup we have on our hands. Just two games ago, things looked like they were set. The Penguins topped the Predators in game one and two and did so in convincing fashion.
Now, however, the series is tied at two by virtue of resilient play from the Nashville Predators in front of their home crowd.
Just like the first three games of this series, all the action took place in the second and third period. Calle Jarnkrok found the back of the net at the 14:51 mark to give the Nashville and early 1-0 lead. This did not last long however as Sidney Crosby scored just over a minute later to even the game at one going into the second period.
The second and third period were owned by the Predators. Frederick Gaudreau netted his third goal of the series just three minutes into the second period. This was followed by a Viktor Arvidsson goal ten minutes later to extend the Nashville lead to 3-1.
The nail in the coffin came at the 16-minute mark in the third period as Filip Forsberg scored a full-ice goal which would prove to be the final goal in this game marking a 4-1 victory for the predators.
“It’s hard to win when you score one goal,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said after the game.
While the Predators offensive attack was firing on all cylinders, the difference maker in this game was the performance from goalie Pekke Rinne.
“Pekke was excellent tonight, outstanding,” Nashville head coach Peter Laviolette said. “But I liked the way the guys stayed focused from start to finish. And that’s the difference sometimes. Now everything matters, every pass matters, every check matters, every face-off matters. And I thought our guys were sharp from start to finish.”
This series has been a story of home ice. Neither team has won on the road yet. What makes this series even more interesting is that there really has not been a close game. Pittsburgh took game one 5-3 and game two 4-1 while Nashville took game three 5-1 and game four 4-1. The results of this Stanley Cup series are very polarized which is very uncommon in the Stanley Cup.
This series will not swing back to Pittsburgh. The puck will drop Thursday at 8:00 p.m. on NBCSN.