Predators Claw Their Way Back into Series with Huge Win Over Pittsburgh
The Nashville Predators finally broke through on Saturday night with a huge win against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
Despite having outplayed the Penguins for extended stretches of games one and two of the series, the Predators collapsed in the third period of both games putting them into a deep hole.
The odds of coming back from an 0-2 deficit in the Stanley Cup finals are prohibitive. Only five teams in the long history of the NHL have managed to overcome such an early disadvantage to eventually win the hardware. The 2011 Boston Bruins were the last team to do it so it isn’t impossible.
During last year’s finals, the Penguins also enjoyed a two games to none lead against the San Jose Sharks who won game three in overtime before eventually falling in six but these Predators are a feisty and tenacious bunch.
The Penguins struck first when Jake Guentzel beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for his playoff leading 13th goal less than three minutes into the game. That sucked the air out of the enthusiastic, gold-clad fans at the packed to the rafters Bridgestone Arena.
But the Predators were relentless and swarming and soon had Pittsburgh on their heels after repeatedly launching shots at Pens’ goaltender Matt Murray who has been outstanding.
Nashville then seized control of the game in the second period.
A power play goal by defenseman Roman Josi knotted the score at one and Frederick Gaudreau beat Murray with a wrist shot a mere 42 seconds later as the home crowd exploded.
WICKED WRISTER!#StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/yMo52BWZSn
— NBC Sports Hockey (@NBCSportsHockey) June 4, 2017
The Predators would score the backbreaker on a goal by winger James Neal with 22 seconds left in the period.
Talk about shock and awe.
The Predators added two more goals in the third period for the final 5-1 score.
FINAL: Predators beat Penguins 5-1 in Game 3 to cut Pittsburgh's series lead to 2-1. https://t.co/DSQKEmxYHm #StanleyCup #NSHvsPIT
— Tennessean (@Tennessean) June 4, 2017
While the victory couldn’t have come at a better time for Nashville, it will all be for naught if they aren’t able to also win game four at home on Monday and turn it into a best of three series.
The battle resumes at Bridgestone Arena at 8 pm ET on Monday Night.