PREDATORS RESPOND ON HOME ICE, EARN FIRST STANLEY CUP FINAL WIN
Down 1-0 after 20 minutes, the Predators scored five unanswered goals – including two in a 42-second span of the second period – to earn their first Stanley Cup Final win and cut their series deficit in half.
NASHVILLE 5, Pittsburgh 1 – PIT leads 2-1
The Predators improved to 8-1 on home ice this postseason (with their lone loss in OT), outscoring the opposition 30-14. Pekka Rinne, who made 27 saves, owns a 1.49 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in those contests. Three Predators registered multiple points, including defensemen Roman Josi (1-2—3) and Mattias Ekholm (1-1—2). Nashville blueliners have combined for 14-36—50 during the playoffs (19 GP), tops in the NHL.
Mattias Ekholm (1-9—10) became the fourth Predators defenseman to reach double-digits in scoring this postseason, joining Josi (6-8—14), Ryan Ellis (5-7—12) and P.K. Subban (2-9—11). Only two other teams in NHL history have had four blueliners each record at least 10 points in the same playoff year: the 1984 Oilers and 1993 Kings.
Roman Josi, who factored on all three Nashville goals in the middle frame, registered his sixth tally of the playoffs, most among defensemen. Elias notes that he became the first blueliner to post three points in one period of a Stanley Cup Final game since Pittsburgh’s Larry Murphy on May 23, 1991 vs. MNS (0-3—3 in 1st period).
With Nashville’s win, there will not be a sweep in the Stanley Cup Final for a record 18th consecutive series (since 1998 DET: 4-0 W vs. WSH). The longest prior such streak (since the Stanley Cup Final went to the best-of-seven format in 1939) was seven straight series, from 1953-59 and 1961-67.
The Predators posted the 34th comeback victory of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs (in 84 GP, 40.5%) . . . Nineteen different players have scored at least one goal for Nashville this postseason (following firsts by Mattias Ekholm and Craig Smith in Game 3). Elias notes that is two shy of the NHL record, set by the 1987 Flyers (21) . . . Penguins captainSidney Crosby (56-104—160 in 145 GP) collected one assist to move into a tie for 20th place on the NHL’s all-time playoff points list, with Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Al MacInnis and Bobby Smith . . . ICYMI: The Ducks signed head coach Randy Carlyle to a one-year extension . . . Fans voted the 1991-92 Penguins, 1976-77 Canadiens and 1987-88 Oilers as Nos. 2, 3 and 4, respectively, on the list of Greatest NHL Teams . . . The Predators announced that their Game 4 tailgate party will include the “Music City Gives Back” concert, featuring Rodney Atkins, Kip Moore, Granger Smith, Cole Taylor and Brett Young . . . Grammy- and CMA-winning singer/songwriter Alan Jackson played a free concert on Lower Broadway prior to Game 3.
* Information provided via NHL Press Release