Nashville pulls even in Stanley Cup Final

The Predators beat the Penguins to tie the series heading back to Pittsburgh on Thursday

Brayton Wilson
June 06, 2017 - 9:47 am

Photo: Scott Rovak - USA TODAY Sports

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The Stanley Cup Final is now a best-of-three series after the Nashville Predators evened the series with a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday night from Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators dropped the first two games of the series in Pittsburgh, but have come back to win both games in Nashville to tie the series heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.

Calle Jarnkrok put the Predators on the board first after cleaning up a rebound in front of the net off a shot from Craig Smith. Jarnkrok has stepped up his play in the past two games, scoring twice and adding an assist while playing some key time on both the powerplay and penalty kill.

Just 1:06 later, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby tied the hockey game with a breakaway goal that re-directed off the goal post, off the leg of goalie Pekka Rinne and in the net. It was Crosby's eighth goal of the postseason, but just his fourth career goal of his career in the Cup Final.

Early in the second period, the game turned in favor of Nashville.

Seconds after Rinne makes a big save on Chirs Kunitz on a partial breakaway, Predators forward Frederick Gaudreau sneaks a wrap-around attempt under the arm of goalie Matt Murray and barely managed to get it past the goal line. Play continued for a few seconds before the horn sounded to indicate that there was a good goal on the ice.

Five minutes later, Rinne came up huge for Nashville again as Crosby came in for another breakaway. His chance was stopped, but the puck managed to bounce its way back in towards the goal crease. Leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Final, Jake Guentzel, tried to score his 14th goal of the playoffs but Rinne came back to make the save and shove the puck out of harm's way.

Moments later, a couple of desperation plays from both James Neal and Mike Fisher lead to a breakaway for Viktor Arvidsson. Arvidsson then goes glove side on Murray for his third goal of the playoffs to put the Predators up 3-1.

The Penguins continued to put up the pressure and create some good scoring chances, but Rinne ended up turning away 23 of 24 shots faced on the evening. Matt Murray also played well in net for the Penguins, but comes away with 22 saves on 25 shots faced in the loss.

Filip Forsberg finally scored his first point of the Stanley Cup Final as he scored into the empty net with more than three minutes to play.

Nashville remains nearly flawless at home, winning their ninth game of the playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. The only loss this postseason came in the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks in overtime.

Faceoff from Pittsburgh on Thursday is at 8 p.m., and you can hear all the action on WGR following The Nightcap with Ryan Gates.

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