Photo: Christopher Hanewinckel - USA TODAY Sports

Predators bounce back to take Game 3

Nashville scores five unanswered goals to win first ever Stanley Cup Final game

June 04, 2017 - 10:11 am

Mike Jafari reporting


The Pittsburgh Penguins' 2-0 series lead was cut in half on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The Nashville Predators decimated Pittsburgh 5-1 on home ice to get themselves back in the Stanley Cup Final.

Jake Guentzel gave Pittsburgh the early 1-0 lead with his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason. Guentzel cleaned up a rebound in front of Pekka Rinne off of a point shot from defenseman Ian Cole. The Penguins rookie continues to add to his impressive postseason with his 20th point.

Pittsburgh's lead would last through the first 20 minutes of play, but it was all Nashville from there.

After Justin Schultz goes to the penalty box for holding, Roman Josi got the Predators on the board with a slap shot from the back edge of the faceoff circle that re-directed off the glove of Penguins forward Carter Rowney and in. It was Josi's sixth goal of the postseason, and is now one point back of Filip Forsberg for the team lead in scoring.

Just 42-seconds later, Frederick Gaudreau scored his second of the playoffs to put the Predators ahead. Gaudreau knocked down a saucer pass from Austin Watson just outside the Penguins blue line and moved the puck into the offensive zone. He cut into the slot and let a wrist shot go that beat goalie Matt Murray on the glove side for the 2-1 lead.

Nashville went up 3-1 with just 22.6 seconds to play in the second with a big goal from James Neal. Neal came in a put home a bouncing puck after a pass attempt from Viktor Arvidsson behind the net re-directed off the leg of Brian Dumoulin and next to the Pittsburgh net. It was Neal's sixth goal of the playoffs to put the Predators up by two heading into the third period.

In the third, Craig Smith scored his first of the playoffs after Pittsburgh's Chris Kunitz got tied up with Phil Kessel just outside the Predators blue line. Smith came in to gather the loose puck and go in for a breakaway. He then rifled a wrist shot past the glove hand of Murray to put the Predators up by three goals.

After Sidney Crosby was called for boarding with 7:17 left in the game, Mattias Ekholm scored his first goal in 23 games to put the Predators up 5-1.

Pekka Rinne bounced back in Game 3 stopping 27 of 28 shots faced, including 27 straight saves after giving up the goal to Guentzel. Murray was tested once again in net for the Penguins, but the Predators get the best of him this time as he only stopped 28 of 33 shots faced.

Nashville hopes to even up the series when they host the Penguins for Game 4 on Monday night at Bridgestone Arena. You can hear all the action on WGR beginning at 8 p.m. following The Nightcap with Ryan Gates.

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