Not only did Bridgestone Arena come alive to give the Stanley Cup Final its most energetic game of the series, but the Predators also surged back into contention thanks to a 5-1 rout of the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins, who entered the weekend with a two-game lead in their efforts to claim a repeat title.
Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan remained calm as he answered the question, but there was an edge to his words when asked about being outplayed for most of the first three games of the Stanley Cup Finals by the Nashville Predators. NBCSN will be doing the national TV coverage while the game can be watched online live on FuboTV. The Pittsburgh Penguins now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1, with Game 4 in Nashville on Monday.
An undrafted free agent playing just his sixth postseason game, Gaudreau scored the go-ahead goal 3:45 into the second period and Pekka Rinne made 23 often-spectacular saves as the Predators beat the Penguins 4-1 on Monday night to even the series at 2-2.
But that was the only time the Penguins found a way past Rinne, who stopped 27 of 28 shots and stepped up his play after sub-par performances in the first two games of the series.
Head coach Mike Sullivan has not lost any confidence in goalie Matt Murray even though he gave up five goals in Game 3.
Roman Josi tied the game with a Power Play blast and Frederick Gaudreau scored just 42 seconds later. Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm scored in the third period as the Preds won their first ever home final. Pittsburgh, if they make it 3-1, will be one game away (possibly on their home ice) from claiming their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
Penguins offense: Pittsburgh has been outshot, 97-67, in the three games and has to get far more than its series average of 22.3 shots on goal per game to have a better chance of success. He remains day-to-day and will be a game-time decision so it appears.
'A long, strange trip': Thad Matta out as Ohio State coach
He has been troubled for years by chronic back problems that sometimes prevented him from taking off his shoes after a game. Thad Matta , one of the most successful coaches of the modern era in Big Ten basketball, is officially out at Ohio State.
He only has four goals and seven points in 21 games, but he ranks second on the team in face-off winning percentage (52.3%), ranks first among forwards on the Penguins and second in the league in blocks (29) and plays a sound, mistake-free game. The penalty kill was once again flawless. No, the Pittsburgh captain insists he did not complain about Subban's breath in Game 3, saying Subban made that up. It was basically win or face the inevitable for Nashville in Game 3.
The 2-1 lead held into the final minute of the second period when the Predators finally got some breathing room. "There's no doubt that we believe they will continue that".
They got out to an early start with Jake Guentzel's 13th goal these playoffs.
So yes, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang-less defensive corps is still so full of holes, but they slowed down the game and had a real chance. The victory was the franchise's first in the Stanley Cup Final. 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.
Dreger said of his feelings going into game 4...
"Just play the game, man", he said.