- Pekka Rinne made 23 saves as the Nashville Predators earned a second straight win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 to knot the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece.
The 2017 Stanley Cup Final is now a best-of-three series. Four goals, including two that were reviewed, fueled the Predators Monday night to a 4-1 Game 4 win in Nashville against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Calle Jarnkrok got Bridgestone Arena jumping late in the first period. A close-range shot from Craig Smith couldn't get past Penguins goalie Matt Murray, but Jarnkrok was nearby to corral the rebound and cash in with 5:09 left. Pittsburgh challenged the goal, arguing Murray was interfered with on the play. But the Penguins were wrong and the scoreboard remained 1-0.
Sixty-six seconds later, the Predators' lead was gone.
Darting through the neutral zone, Sidney Crosby collected Brian Dumoulin's stretch pass and streaked into Pittsburgh's offensive zone. Crosby faked a shot from behind the left face-off circle before moving in and finding the back of the net courtesy of a backhanded shot that bounced off the right post and off Nashville netminder Pekka Rinne. Crosby's game-tying goal at 15:57 in the opening frame was his 161st career point in the playoffs, good for 20th all-time.
The drama continued into the second period, when action was stopped 4:20 into the middle stanza. Thirty-five seconds earlier, Frederick Gaudreau had come around the back of the net and scored on a wraparound attempt. However, it was initially waved off. Further review, though, showed the puck clearly crossed the goal line. Gaudreau was given the goal—the third of his career. All of them have come in the Stanley Cup Final, making him only the second player to ever do so in NHL history. John Harris of the 1944 Blackhawks was the first.
The visiting Penguins almost tied the game once more, this time as the clock approached the midway point in the second period. Crosby was out on the breakaway once again, but this time Rinne got the better of the situation. Crosby immediately tried to jam home the rebound. No luck. Then it was Bryan Rust's turn and again, no dice. By this point, Rinne was sprawled on all fours, belly down on the ice, his body to the right of the crease. Jake Guentzel then crashed the net, got the loose puck after it deflected off Roman Josi's stick and whacked at it. Diving back to the open net, Rinne made his fourth and most important save in the flurry of chances to keep the score 2-1.
Viktor Arvidsson's goal on an odd-man rush with 6:25 remaining in the second period gave Nashville a 3-1 edge. Filip Forsberg's empty-netter late in the third period capped the scoring.
Rinne made 23 saves in Monday night's win. Murray stopped 22 out of 25 shots faced in the loss.
Nashville's win evens the series at two games apiece. Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final is set for Thursday back in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins took the series' first two games.
Highlight of the Night, Part I
Falling down, Mike Fisher somehow flicked the puck up the ice one-handed to Arvidsson for the breakaway goal.
Highlight of the Night, Part II
One. Two. Three. Four saves, with the last being absolutely unreal.
Stat of the Night
For the Predators, there's no place like home. Nashville now has a 9-1 record this postseason when playing at Bridgestone Arena. In those games, they've outscored their guests 34-15.
“I could be sitting on the floor and I'd take it. I'm just happy to be here.”
—Frederick Gaudreau, who owns three goals in the Cup Final, but not a stall in the Predators' dressing room.
3. Filip Forsberg (NSH) Forsberg's goal in Game 4 was his ninth of the playoffs, bringing him into a three-way tie with Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin and Anaheim's Jakob Silfverberg for second in goal scoring this postseason.
2. Frederick Gaudreau (NSH) Gaudreau's goal Monday was his second game-winner in as many games for the Predators.
1. Pekka Rinne (NSH) Rinne followed up Saturday's strong performance with another stellar outing Monday. He's now stopped 50 of the last 52 shots Pittsburgh's sent his way compared to just 28 of 36 during the first two games of the series.