Before Saturday night, things were not going so well for the Nashville Predators and their fans in the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals. The Pittsburgh Penguins took game one 5-3. Then they rolled over the Preds in game two by the score of 4-1. This left Nashville down two games to none as they returned home.
Game three was set to be crucial. Back at home, it was a must win for P.K. Subban and his teammates. If the team lost this game, the series would have been as good as over. But if they pulled out the victory, the momentum would begin to sway back in their favor. A large hurdle of being down 3-0 would become a much more doable 2-1 deficit.
If you missed game three, then you missed that momentum swing. While things looked bleak after the first period, it was all Nashville in the final two. The Preds would go on to win the game by a score of 5-1, meaning they have a shot to tie the series on Monday night at home.
Jake Guentzel would score for the Pens early in the first period, making it 1-0 Pittsburgh. The Preds would go the rest of the period looking like they would go down without a fight. But then Roman Josi brought the fans, and the team, back to life after about five mins into the second period.
Josi’s goal would tie things up. But it is what happened next that tells me the Preds are not ready to roll over.
Less than one minute after tying the game, Nashville took the lead, thanks to a goal from Frederick Gaudreau. James Neal would add another one right before the period could conclude, giving the team a 3-1 lead heading into the third.
There was no point in the third where it felt like the team would hand things back. The team added two more goals, making it the 5-1 score we saw at the conclusion of the contest. But it was the way it happened that makes this fan of the sport feel this series is about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Pekka Rinne was on his game. He saved 27 of 28 shots thrown his way. From the moment the Preds took the lead, at no point did I feel Rinne was going to let that lead go. Nashville was skating hard and out to prove a point. They were not going to simply roll over and let this season come to a quiet close come Monday night.
The Predators took five more shots than the Pens. Both teams were given three power play chances. The Preds capitalized twice while the Pends did not once. Also, the Preds delivered seven more hits. The message has been delivered.
With game three in the books, all eyes will now be pointed to Monday’s game four. Nashville will once again be home, meaning the fans will come in loud and proud. Having such a decisive win in this game will have fans in an electric mood. Had the Preds lost this game, or even played a safe and close game, that energy simply would not have been there.
So we have a series now folks. Let’s get ready for game four. Instead of being a cakewalk sweep for Sidney Crosby and his crew, this game could now tie things up before headed back to the Steel City!