Michael Finewax

Hockey Daily Dose

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Predators Even It Up at 2

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


We have ourselves a series!

 

The Nashville Predators evened up the Stanley Cup Final at two games apiece with a 4-1 win at home.

 

Pekka Rinne was outstanding once again as he improved his record at home during the 2017 playoffs to 9-1 as he turned aside 23 shots. The biggest saves were in the second with the game tied at 1, including a beautiful save on a breakaway by Chris Kunitz.

 

Matt Murray stopped 22 shots in the Pittsburgh cage as he has finally lost two games in a row in the playoffs. Murray was 9-0 dating back to last season after losing a game in the post-season but is now 9-1.

 

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Calle Jarnkrok opened the scoring in the first period in front of the raucous Nashville fans as he banged home a rebound off an Austin Watson shot, but Sidney Crosby scored to tie it at one as he went in alone and deked Rinne with a gorgeous move to score for the first time since 2009 in a Stanley Cup Final game.

 

As mentioned earlier, Rinne stopped Kunitz on a breakaway early in the second and then Frederick Gaudreau scored on a wraparound to give the Predators a 2-1 lead. Murray appeared to make the save on Gaudreau and play continued for a while but replays showed the puck crossed the goal line before Murray knocked it away. It was Gaudreau’s third goal of the Stanley Cup Final and the rookie is the first in 73 years to score his first three NHL goals of his career in the Stanley Cup Final. (John Harms of the Chicago Blackhawks did the same in 1944. He scored five goals and 10 points in 44 games the following season and never played in the NHL again as players returned from WWII). Plenty has been made of the fact that Jake Guentzel of the Penguins has 13 goals in the playoffs including three in the Final but Gaudreau has been just as good in the final round.

 

Viktor Arvidsson finally scored to make it 3-1 as Mike Fisher, with as pretty a pass as you ever will see, chipped it ahead to Arvidsson on a breakaway and his shot beat Murray. It was Arvidsson’s third of the playoffs but first since Game 4 of the Chicago series on April 20th, a span of 16 games. The Predators will need more from Arvidsson in the next two or three games to hoist the Stanley Cup.

 

Filip Forsberg’s ninth of the playoffs was scored into the empty net in the third to make the final 4-1.

 

The scoring was spread out as no player had more than one point.

 

Justin Schultz was a minus-three in the contest.

 

Austin Watson had six hits while Patric Hornqvist had five.

 

Roman Josi had four blocked shots as every member of the Nashville blueline was a plus-one.

 

Nick Bonino tried to play but left the ice after four minutes in the warm up. He was not in the lineup.

 

So Game 5 goes Thursday back in Pittsburgh and all the pressure switches to the Penguins. If they cannot win (and Nashville has outplayed them all series) then on Sunday, the Predators will return home with a chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in their brief history.



Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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