Saturday, 19 August, 2017

Key storylines heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final

NHL playoffs 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers voted greatest NHL team in history
Isaac Mcdaniel | 06 June, 2017, 07:00

The concern for Pittsburgh now: Was the 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators Saturday night in the wild atmosphere in and around the Bridgestone Arena a passing of the baton in the Stanley Cup final or was this the expected push back that was predictable considering the noise and the circumstance?

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby tried to brush off the halitosis high jinks after being accused by Nashville Predators standout/provocateur P.K. Subban of insulting Subban's breath during a face-to-face meeting in a feisty Game 3. NBCSN will be doing the national TV coverage while the game can be watched online live on FuboTV.

Massive crowds led to confusion and disruptions at the outdoor viewings Saturday, when the Predators beat the Penguins, 5-1, in Game 3.

Russian Malkin scored a goal in each of the first two games but Canadian Crosby is seeking his first goal of the best-of-seven series, which Pittsburgh lead 2-1.

It did not look good early for Rinne who, after two subpar efforts in Games 1 and 2, gave up a goal on the first shot of the game. That's all who participated in Monday's game-day skate for the Penguins, and the attention is on goalie Matt Murray.

Penguins' center Nick Bonino arrived in Nashville ahead of Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final wearing a walking boot and using crutches to get around. The Predators attack was balanced with five different players scoring with Roman Josi, Frederick Gaudreau, James Neal, Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm each lighting the lamp. The Preds would go on to win the game by a score of 5-1, meaning they have a shot to tie the series on Monday night at home. He remains day-to-day and will be a game-time decision so it appears.

And with the Penguins' season extended by another six weeks during another deep playoff run, Cullen has had less time with his three boys, now ages 10, 8, and 7. For the first time in the series, Nashville was the team making the most of what was given to them, despite Pittsburgh playing an even better game in Bridgestone Arena.

"We've been outplayed in stretches, you know", he said.

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Except Pittsburgh wasn't getting smashed: they allowed good chances, but spent far more time somewhere other than their own zone.

"I enjoy it. We have a good group of kids and they don't feel like kids anymore after what they went through and what they did a year ago with Guentzel being the exception", Cullen said.

So yes, Pittsburgh's Kris Letang-less defensive corps is still so full of holes, but they slowed down the game and had a real chance.

The Stanley Cup Final is now a best-of-three, and definitely coming back to the Music City.

"All of our defensemen, if I'm being honest, even from a team concept defensively, it's been pretty good in the playoffs to this point", Laviolette said. The Penguins also have managed just four shots on goal in 13 power plays in the series with just one goal with the man advantage.

First Period-1, Pittsburgh, Guentzel 13 (Cole, Crosby), 2:46.

What needs to happen for both teams?

The goal ended a 72:54 drought for Nashville, which had outshot the Penguins 18-9 in the first Final game ever played in Nashville.

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