Predators

The Predators earned a huge win at home during Game Three of the Stanley Cup Final.

It was no secret that the Predators needed Game Three. Nashville couldn’t allow the Penguins to go up 3-0 in the series on home ice and the Preds simply didn’t let that happen.

The Predators power play came up huge going 2-for-3 on the night as they earned a 5-1 win against the Penguins. The penalty kills wasn’t poor by any means either as it killed off all three power plays it faced. Pekka Rinne let in an early goal, but ultimately stood strong in stopping 27 of the 28 shots he faced after questionable performances in Game One and Game Two.

Things did not get off to a great start at all for Nashville in Game Three. It took Pittsburgh just 2:46 to grab a 1-0 lead as Jake Guentzel scored his playoff leading 13th goal of the postseason with a put-back off of a rebound given up by Rinne.

Less than two minutes later the Preds were whistled for a holding penalty sending P.K. Subban to the box, but Nashville’s penalty came up big to keep the game at 1-0. The Preds also had to kill off a too many men on the ice penalty with just over seven minutes left in the frame.

Nashville out shot the Penguins 12-6 in the first period of play.

The second period was a completely different story as the Predators’ offense erupted for three goals taking control of the game.

Just over four minutes into the period Justin Shultz was whistled for a holding penalty and the Predators power play made the most of their chance as Roman Josi slipped a shot past Matt Murray to knot things up at 1-1.

Josi’s goal got things going for Nashville in a big way as it took just 42 seconds for Nashville to grab the lead. Frederick Gaudreau received a pass from Austin Watson and the 24-year-old zipped a wicked wrist shot into the back of the net.

Following the Gaudreau tally, Nashville held the momentum for the remainder of the second period. The Preds had to kill off yet another penalty with 3:23 left in the period and after they were successful in doing so, they were able to double up their lead.

With 23 seconds left, James Neal got the puck behind the net and banked home a shot off of Murray to give the Preds a 3-1 lead heading into the second intermission.

After two periods of play, the Preds led the shot-count 28-19.

If every bit of momentum wasn’t already on Nashville’s side after its huge second frame, it surely got to that point early on during the third frame.

Less than five minutes into the final period, Craig Smith picked up a bouncing puck in the neutral zone that bounced off of Phil Kessel and he turned on the jets to create a breakaway chance. He made it count for his first goal of these playoffs making it a 4-1 contest.

The Predators added to their lead with 6:50 left in the contest with a power play tally.

With 7:17 left in regulation, Evgeni Malkin and Filip Forsberg were handed off setting minors, but Sidney Crosby was also whistled for a minor penalty giving the Preds a power play opportunity. Mattias Ekholm received a pass from Calle Jarnkrok and the Swede smoked a shot past Murray to light the lamp.

When it was all said and done, the Preds out shot the Penguins 33-28 on the night.

Nashville ended the night with 51 total shot attempts during 5-on-5 play compared to the 45 Pittsburgh managed.

Box Score

Fancy Stats

Game Four is set for 7:00 p.m. CST on Monday night from Nashville.