Monday, February 17, 2020

Predators rout Penguins in Game 3 to seal gap in Stanley Cup final


Predators coach Peter Laviolette heard all the questions and criticism of Pekka Rinne after the goaltender’s struggles within the Stanley Cup Final in Pittsburgh. Well, Laviolette i never thought of switching goalies.

A change of scenery helped Rinne and everything his Nashville teammates since they dominated again automatically ice for that biggest section of franchise history yet.

A victory inside the Stanley Cup final.

Roman Josi and Frederick Gaudreau scored 42 seconds apart while in the second period, and also the Predators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 Saturday night in order to within 2-1 from the best-of-seven series. Rinne started which made 27 saves against a Pittsburgh team that continued to struggle within the power play and lacked the identical zip that they in winning the main two games at home.

“There had not been decision,” Laviolette said of changing goalies. “He was terrific. I asserted after Game 2. He’s been the backbone for our own team. He’s been excellent. His game tonight was unshakable.”

PK Subban and Sidney Crosby also exchanged words in third period. Afterwards the Predators star revealed exactly why. “He said my breath smelled, even so mean, I don’t know, I used Listerine ahead of the game,” Subban told NBC’s Pierre McGuire as soon as the game. “So I am not sure what he’s discussing.”

The Predators capped the biggest party in Nashville history using a victory that gave countless fans in and out with the arena reason to celebrate. Country star Keith Urban and wife, actress Nicole Kidman, were high-fiving inside of the arena and in addition they had plenty of company. Credit Rinne for coming through with a stingy performance and helping the Predators improve to 8-1 from home this postseason.

The 6-foot-5 Finn looked so shaky in the initial two games, quiting eight goals on just 36 shots. Laviolette benched him from the third time period of Game 2 when Rinne quit three goals inside first 3:28 of any 4-1 loss.

Rinne said he changed nothing and knew he was playing on a regular basis. Nashville fans did their best to lift his spirits by chanting his name in pre-game warm-ups.

“Collectively we moved into the locker room, and we all were telling 1 another we’ve never seen anything prefer that,” Rinne said.

Josi also had two assists. James Neal, Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville as the Predators discovered some frustration against the Pens.

“Like we has done the entire playoffs against Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, we showed brilliant composure,” said Subban, who had predicted victory in Game 3. “We’re planning to take that to the next game.”

Game 4 is Monday night.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said he thought his Penguins gave up a number of easy goals.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t get the result, but we also know that this can be a series,” Sullivan said. “Our guys, and may through this. They are able to draw on their experience. Nobody is planning to allow this to certainly get us down. We will gain knowledge from it, move because of and make preparations for the upcoming game.”

Crosby did not have a go on goal, and neither did Evgeni Malkin.

“Hopefully a casino game along these lines is one area that is the hard lesson,” Crosby said. “But we will need to be certain we’re better.”

Jake Guentzel scored his 13th goal this postseason and fourth for this series for Pittsburgh and then is an off Dino Ciccarelli’s rookie record of 14 almost 30 years ago for Minnesota. Guentzel, already with two game-winning goals within the series, put the Penguins up 1-0 on the second shot with a wrister off a rebound of Ian Cole that beat Rinne just 2:46 to the game.

Rinne stopped our next 26 shots to the victory along with the party continued within the night.

Early on, Matt Murray extended his scoreless streak to 72:54 while using the Pittsburgh goalie looking prepared to notch his 21st playoff win. Establishing lost the battle five goals while in the span of 15 shots as well as the catfish watch was on.

The Predators reached it started with a three-goal flurry inside second.

Josi scored his sixth goal off a slap shot at 5:51, tying it at 1-1 last but not least giving nervous fans something to take pleasure from. Then Gaudreau, who scored his first career NHL goal in Game 1, scored 42 seconds later to position Nashville ahead with his wrister in the high slot, taking advantage of a screen by Penguins defenseman Ian Cole to beat Murray glove-side.

Just subsequently go-ahead goal, the Penguins were built with a rush on Rinne, and also the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist made back-to-back big saves. First, he stopped Phil Kessel’s wrister with the right circle. The rebound bounced back into the slot, and Rinne created save money on Chris Kunitz having an assist from Subban sliding to help.

Neal caused it to be 3-1 with 22.6 seconds left inside the second, banking the puck off Murray’s left arm for his first goal within the series and sixth with the playoffs. Smith’s goal on a breakaway at 4:54 was his first of the playoffs, and Ekholm padded the lead with a power-play goal with 6:50 left.

“We played some really good hockey in those 1st two games, only a couple of little breakdowns and they also jumped all around us but it what food was in the back of the world wide web,” Neal said. “It was obviously a good job of limiting that tonight.”

As for Rinne, Neal added: “We felt we left him over to dry several times over the last game. I realized we did a better job tonight.”


Smith is the 18th different Nashville player to attain the objective this postseason, and Ekholm took over as 19th. … The Penguins went 0 of 3 about the power play and after this are 1 of 13 with this series. … With the assist, Crosby now has 160 career playoff points (56 goals, 104 assists) and tied Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Bobby Smith and Al MacInnis for 20th all-time. … Laviolette sat veterans Cody McLeod and Vern Fiddler to get additional speed with Harry Zolnierczyk and P.A. Parenteau. … Pittsburgh forward Carl Hagelin played in my ballet shoes with center Nick Bonino out after using a Subban slap shot off his left foot in Game 2 that left him on crutches along with a walking boot.

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