Predators

The Predators and Penguins series is now knotted at 2-2.

Game Four was arguably the most important game of this series. Pittsburgh led 2-1 heading into the contest and Nashville simply couldn’t afford to fall 3-1 in the series on home ice facing a Game Five in Pittsburgh. The Predators knew what they had to do, and that was win, and that’s exactly what they did on Monday night.

Pekka Rinne had a monstrous night in net stopping 23 of 24 shots for Nashville as the Preds had four different goal scorers in their 4-1 victory.

Game Four started a lot like Game Three did, style wise, with Nashville jumping out of the gates with as much speed as possible that was, for the most part, matched by Pittsburgh.

The Predators were gifted the first power play chance of the night as Patric Hornqvist was sent to the box for tripping, but Nashville’s power play could not get anything going. They did however get something working 5:09 left in the period.

Austin Watson threw a shot on net that deflected off of Craig Smith and Matt Murray then ultimately to Calle Jarnkrok who poked a puck home to give the Preds the first goal of the night.

The lead lasted all of 1:06 however as Sidney Crosby knotted things up on a breakaway chance. The Predators defense collapsed a bit, and No. 87 made them pay.

After one period of play, Nashville led in the shots on the goal counter 7-6. The Predators had 14 total shot attempts during 5-on-5 play while the Pens were just one behind with 13.

The second period was very friendly to Nashville just as it was in Game Three of the series as the Preds grabbed a 3-1 advantage.

Less than four minutes into the frame, Frederick Gaudreau attempted a wrap-around attempt but appeared to not quite push the puck over the goal line. Moments later however, during play, the goal horn sounded randomly and the play was reviewed. Gaudreau’s shot did in fact beat Murray and just barely cross the line giving the Preds a 2-1 edge. Ryan Ellis and Harry Zolnierczyk were credited with assists on the goal.

Following the goal, Nashville controlled play and looked like the team that had all the momentum on its side.

Then that was amped up to another level with 6:52 left in the the second period as Mike Fisher made an impressive diving pass to a streaking Viktor Arvidsson in the neutral zone and the young Swede bolted away for a breakaway and buried his chance making it 3-1. The goal was Arvidsson’s first in 15 games.

The second period wasn’t all offense for the Preds however, Pekka Rinne made a number of very impressive stops keeping the Pens from lighting the lamp.

The Preds and Penguins each had eight shots on net during the second frame. After 40 minutes of play, Nashville had 33 total shot attempts during 5-on-5 play while Pittsburgh managed 30.

The final period featured that same fast-paced game that was seen in the opening two periods, but the only goal scored turned out to be an empty netter for Nashville.

With 3:23 left in regulation, just seconds after the Penguins pulled Murray, Filip Forsberg flipped a shot down the ice and into the empty cage giving Nashville the 4-1 lead.

After the empty netter, tempers flared just a bit and Mattias Ekholm was whistled for a double minor giving the Penguins a late 4-on-3 power play chance, but the Predators penalty kill came up big yet again. With 24 seconds left in regulation, Pittsburgh moved to the 5-on-3 advantage after Ellis was called for a cross-check but the Preds stood strong.

Nashville ended up outshooting Pittsburgh 26-24 on the night with a total of 12 different Preds picking up points which has been what the Preds have been about all postseason long; spreading the scoring with the next man stepping up mentality. With the win and the series sitting at 2-2, both teams have a chance to take a real strangle hold on the series in Game Five.

Box Score

Fancy Stats

Game Five is set for 7:00 p.m. CST on Thursday night in Pittsburgh.