Pekka Rinne makes 23 saves to help Nashville to second straight win
NASHVILLE — Pekka Rinne showed he’s back on top of his game by making 23 saves for the Nashville Predators in a 4-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena on Monday.
“You always have ups and downs, you try to stay even keeled,” Rinne said. “I don’t want to really look back yet. I mean we have work to be done, but I’m sure at the end of the day when you look back, it’s a roller coaster and it’s an emotional ride. It’s no different, these finals. In the first two games, we did a lot of good things. Personally, wasn’t really happy with mine, but obviously these two games have been huge for us and personally too.”
The best-of-7 series is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Pittsburgh on Thursday.
The Predators and Rinne improved to 9-1 at home during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Frederick Gaudreau scored his third goal of the Stanley Cup Final and second consecutive game-winning goal.
Gaudreau gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 3:45 of the second period on a wraparound attempt. The goal was confirmed when play was stopped at 4:20 of the period for a video review.
With the goal, Gaudreau became the second player to score his first three NHL goals in the Stanley Cup Final. The other was John Harms of the Chicago Black Hawks in 1944.
“He’s been unbelievable for us, the way he’s come in,” Predators captain Mike Fisher said. “He’s been so good, timely goals and composed. He definitely belongs, and he’s been a huge part of our success and it’s good to see for sure.”
Viktor Arvidsson gave the Predators a 3-1 lead at 13:08. It was Arvidsson’s third goal of the postseason and first since Game 4 of the Western Conference First Round against the Blackhawks.
Filip Forsberg scored an empty-net goal to make it 4-1 at 16:37 of the third period, his first point of the series.
Calle Jarnkrok gave the Predators a 1-0 lead at 14:51 of the first on a rebound. Craig Smith deflected a shot by Austin Watson, and Jarnkrok beat Matt Murray on the rebound for his second goal of the playoffs.
The Penguins challenged for goaltender interference but the goal was upheld after video review.
Sidney Crosby tied it 1-1 at 15:57 on a breakaway. He got behind the Predators defense and beat Rinne on a forehand-to-backhand move for his eighth goal. It was Crosby’s first goal in a Cup Final since June 4, 2009, in Game 4 against the Detroit Red Wings.
“Tonight we generated some really good chances, played on our toes a lot more,” Crosby said. “I think if we continue to do that it’s going to give us a really good chance to win games. It’s a game of mistakes, and we made a couple and they ended up in our net. On the other side, we couldn’t take advantage of theirs.”
Goal of the game
Arvidsson’s goal came on a breakaway after he got behind the Penguins defense and received a pass from Fisher. He beat Murray on the glove side.
Save of the game
Rinne made a save on a breakaway by Chris Kunitz at 3:28 of the second period to keep the game 1-1. Gaudreau scored the game-winning goal 17 seconds later.
Unsung performance of the game
Highlight of the game
Rinne made a series of saves on a scramble play after he stopped Crosby on a breakaway in the second period. Bryan Rust followed up around the crease, and Rinne made a diving stop on Jake Guentzel to keep the game 2-1.
They said it
“We just try to do all of the right things, the little things that help you win. Getting pucks in, blocking shots, supporting, coming out of the zone as a five-man unit, nobody blowing the zone. All of those things matter when you’re up a goal or even down a goal or the game is tied. You’ve got to do those things consistently.” — Predators defenseman P.K. Subban
“The only thing I would say is I thought a couple of the goals tonight, a couple of goals in the prior game, there were things that we could have done that were preventable. Let’s put it that way. They were preventable. The breakaway goal to me is an example. We have to have a bit of awareness away from the puck. If we do that, it’s a nothing play.” — Penguins coach Mike Sullivan
Need to know
Penguins forward Nick Bonino came out for warmups but did not play. He has missed the past two games because of a lower-body injury. Forward Josh Archibald replaced Scott Wilson for the Penguins. … Subban blocked a shot by Malkin with his leg with 7:08 left in the third period. He returned to finish the game.
Game 5 of Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports)