Published: Sun, June 04, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Back in the race: Predators blow by Penguins in Game 3


Why on Earth wouldn't they crank it up when the Stanley Cup made its Music City debut?

The Predators backed up a pre-game boast by defenceman P.K. Subban with their first win of the best-of-seven series in their opening home game of the finals. So they couldn't miss this even if that meant a three-hour drive over from Knoxville with no chance of getting a ticket to watch the game inside the arena Saturday. "That's one game and we move forward". A party inside and outside the arena featured an anthem by Martina McBride, several catfish tossed onto the ice and a raucous standing-room only crowd that saw the Predators improve to 8-1 at home in the playoffs. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, on the list of Greatest NHL Teams. The power play has been extremely poor for the Penguins for several games now.

While the Predators scored goals, Pekka Rinne prevented them. The television broadcast team of play-by-play man Pete Weber, who left Buffalo to head south, and analyst Terry Crisp, a three-time Stanley Cup victor (two as a player with the Philadelphia Flyers and one as a coach with the 1988-89 Calgary Flames), had their work cut out for them. In Game 3, in which Malkin and Sidney Crosby went without a shot, it was Crosby's turn to trash talk Subban.

The offence, which had stuttered in the previous two games, came alive with three goals in the second period. Neither player generated a shot on goal on the power play - or at any other time in the game either.

With the game out of reach, things turned physical late, too. The point of the match in most put Mattias Ekholm.

Three times the Predators beat Matt Murray (five goals on 33 shots) glove side, a part of his game that teams have targeted since he broke into the National Hockey League, while odd-man rushes were another issue for the Penguins. "They're really good at obviously capitalizing on their opportunities".Pittsburgh Penguins' Patric Hornqvist, left, shoots the puck between his legs on goalie Marc-Andre Fleury during hockey practice at the team training center in Cranberry, Pa., Butler county, on Friday, June 2, 2017.Rowney himself averages 1:45 per game while shorthanded, but he may need to lead the way in Bonino's absence. Disgusting turnovers which led to several breakaways, one of which went past a goalie who had absolutely no chance? Rinne wound up stopping 27 of 28 in a bounce-back performance for him.

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And then the second period happened.

For the Penguins, nothing much worked after the first period.

With 22.6 seconds remaining in the second period, James Neal tucked in a loose puck to make it 3-1. I really don't understand why, because I used Listerine before the game.

Inside the building they threw catfish and howled and appended the word "SUCKS!" to the announcement of the Penguins starting lineup, and stood and cheered through TV timeouts. Meanwhile, embattled Nashville starter Pekka Rinne gave up another bad rebound and yet another goal to Penguins rookie Jake Guentzel just 2:46 into the game and then didn't let in any others.

After leading nearly every statistical category except "goals scored" in the opening two games in Pittsburgh, Subban had predicted the Predators would take the third game when the series moved to Nashville. Roman Josi capped it with a one-timer from the right circle at 5:51, his sixth postseason marker.

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