Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee, Predators fans jumped on a national stage and proved they have one of the most passionate and raucous fanbases in all of hockey. For the contest, Nashville once again out-shot the Penguins (33-28) and had more hits (33-26) than Pittsburgh.
Nashville Predators goalie Juuse Saros, second from right, of Finland, and Predators goaltending coach Ben Vanderklok, left, pose for a photo with Canadian hockey broadcaster Don Cherry, center, during NHL practice Sunday, Jun. But he really showed off his Predators pride when he flashed the back of his guitar that had been painted the team's colors of gold, navy blue and white, displaying the words "Go Preds".
He took a slap shot from Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban off the inside of his left foot and ankle in Game 2.
On top of that, the Predators helped hold Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin without a shot on goal for the first time in their lengthy careers in the same playoff game. Crosby, though, says he isn't in the mood to play if it doesn't involve his stick and a puck.
Rinne started and made 27 saves against a Pittsburgh team that continued to struggle on the power play and lacked the same zip they had in winning the first two games at home. I think that's one of the things that makes him as good a goaltender as he is. A vulgar, humiliating incantation that's meant to rattle someone like Matt Murray of the Pittsburgh Penguins on a night when he gives up five goals, like in their Game 3 Stanley Cup Final loss on Saturday night.
The Predators can certainly feel good about the Game 3 result, but a loss in Game 4 wipes that out completely and essentially has the same effect as a Game 3 loss would. The Nashville team is now 8-1 at home in this postseason.
The Penguins have bigger issues than talk of bad breath, and their frustration bubbled over late Saturday night as they racked up 10 penalties for 44 minutes night. After scoring two goals in 42 seconds, Pekka Rinne, much maligned in the first two games of the series, made a timely save for Nashville, denying Kunitz shortly after Gaudreau's goal. The Penguins are a team with the luxury of having Marc-Andre Fleury as their back up, and he had played extremely well in the playoffs with Murray suffering from injury. Of course, those two are related, but it's still alarming to see Crosby with only four shots in the series and Malkin with a measly two.
"We knew what it was going to be like coming back home and we wanted to take advantage of it and we did", Subban said. "We've just got to hit the net". "No matter the situation I just go out and play".
"I just think he has the ability to move by adversities", Sullivan said of Murray. Judging by how Sullivan was talking about the rookie, you can expect Murray will get a chance to add to that flawless record. "I grew up watching the Oilers win Cups and was an extra AHL farmhand with them in 1988 when they won the Cup". The Penguins had a chance in Game Five a year ago but the Sharks pulled out a 3-1 win to force Pittsburgh's Cup clincher back to San Jose three nights later. I have puck one second. After out-shooting the Penguins 64-39 over the first two games, the Predators had scored only four goals. The key for Nashville will be getting off to a good start and sustaining it for 60 minutes.