After Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, the Predators looked done. Pittsburgh played poorly in Game 1 and still managed five goals and then dominated Game 2 before the series went to Nashville.
Nashville took Game 3 and tied the series last night in Game 4, dismantling Pittsburgh 4-1 due much in part to the heroics of goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Rinne stopped 23 of the 24 shots he faced, the lone goal surrendered came off of a breakaway by Sidney Crosby following a defensive blunder. The goal was Crosby’s first in a Stanley Cup Final since Game 4 against Detroit in 2009.
But it seemed that time and again, Rinne was facing tough shots that could have just as easily gone in. In the second period, with Nashville up 2-1, Crosby again broke free and Rinne denied him not once, but twice, before having to dive into the crease to save a third shot, all in a three-second span. He denied Jake Guentzel, who is looking like the favorite for the Conn Smythe Trophy, durign the power play and stonewalled Chris Kunitz on a breakaway minutes later.
— Mark Harris (@TweetsByHarris) June 6, 2017
Suddenly, Rinne has brought back the Predators from the dead and we suddenly have a series on our hands. Game 5 is going to be crucial for both teams and Rinne is Nashville’s key to victory.