The hockey world has been gushing over the past 48 hours what we all knew in the city of Nashville. The Music City is a thriving hockey market that is not an overnight sensation. Selling out every game at home this season has been the culmination of the past struggles and led the Predators to this deep run in the playoffs. The crowd was unbelievably loud and the hockey world took notice. Tonight, the Predators will look to duplicate the 5-1 victory from Game Three and even up the series as it shifts back to Pittsburgh. Momentum is everything in professional sports. A win tonight could go a long way in bringing the first professional title to the city of Nashville. The Predators will need the crowd to be louder to press them through with a win. It was an unbelievable experience and they need a similar performance.
The Nashville Predators defense has been able to effectively shut down Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Phil Kessel through the first three games, but especially in Game Three. Crosby and Malkin were held without a shot in the last game. For some reason, the Predators are struggling to contain young, Jake Guentzel. Guentzel leads the Penguins with 13 goals in 22 postseason games. In the Stanley Cup Finals, the Omaha, Nebraska native has four goals on six shots. The Nashville defense has got to keep this 22 year old in check. Physicality is the key in stopping Guentzel. Every time he skates, there needs to be a body on him because he is becoming a thorn in the side of the Nashville Predators.
Rinne Being Rinne
After the first two contests in Pittsburgh, there was legitimate concern regarding the play of Pekka Rinne. The Kempele, Finland native rebounded in Game Three with a .964 save percentage, allowing one goal on 28 shots. The Predators will need that same type of performance tonight and for the remainder of this series. Rinne was catching the puck with no problems, where in the first two games of the series, number 35 was giving up lots of rebounds. He looked very comfortable in net and has been rock solid this post season at Bridgestone Arena with a record of 8-1. Rinne also received lots of help from the players in front of him as he was getting clean looks rather than the traffic log-jam from the first two contests of the Stanley Cup Final. Nashville will need Rinne to be the goaltender we have seen for the duration of the 2017 playoffs.
The Predators will look to even the series tonight in front of packed house at Bridgestone Arena. Be sure to catch all of the action on NBC or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!