The Stanley Cup Final has some bad blood brewing, and the best-of-seven series for the National Hockey League championship has the makings of becoming a battle royale.
The Penguins head back to Pittsburgh having been outscored 9-2 in Nashville.
Game 4 is Monday night. The 23-year-old took back the net in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final, when Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after allowing four goals in the first period.
"We (saw) him in training camp", veteran right wing James Neal said. This was probably Pittsburgh's best game of the Cup final, a show of desperation and smarts, and they still wound up swimming in an ocean of sound from the giddy, howling, pro wrestling-style Nashville crowd. He's passing too much and that's pretty obvious when you look at the stat sheet at the end of Game 3 and you see there were no shot attempts from Malkin or Sidney Crosby.
"I feel like we should go there with a lot of confidence, play our game, use our speed and play the same way we play at home", Rinne told NBC's Pierre McGuire after the game. "It's a great feeling". "We know that, and we're going to have to continue to be strong defensively to have success against this hockey club".
"It's a game of execution", Crosby said. After the Penguins scored first, the Predators took control of this one with three goals in the second period, the reward for Nashville flipping momentum in its favour around the midpoint of the first. The puck just crossed the goal line under the outstretched sick of Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray before he shoved it away.
Nashville went 2-for-3 on the power play last night and is 4-for-10 in the series. Former NBA star and TV commentator Charles Barkley also was on hand, accepting NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman's invitation to watch in person.
"I don't sense any frustration on our players' part", coach Mike Sullivan said today. Even with last night's start, Murray still sports an impressive 1.96 goals-against-average (GAA) as well as a.930 save percentage (SV%) during these playoffs. Pittsburgh lost a challenge for goalie interference. Pittsburgh lives off Crosby's and Malkin's offensive drive. No luck. Then it was Bryan Rust's turn and again, no dice.
Rinne's most timely save may have been his stop on Chris Kunitz's breakaway at 3:29 of the second. A video review confirmed that the puck did cross the line.
"Something I had imagined for a long time and not known if that chance would ever come", Weber said. "I thought we did a better job tonight".
Crosby had another breakaway almost midway through the period, and Rinne stopped him not once, but twice.
With the game still 1-0, the Predators finally broke through in the second period with Roman Josi firing a slap shot - tying the game with his 6th goal of the post-season.
"Throughout every period, there were some chances there we didn't capitalize on", said captain Sidney Crosby.
This sequence of saves was huge because it eventually led to the Predators getting a 3-1 lead. "That one breakaway, if I make the save there, it could be a different game".
Filip Forsberg's empty-net goal at 16:37 of the third period completed the scoring.
Crosby has now passed Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Al MacInnis and Bobby Smith for 20th in all-time playoff points.
For as much successes as Murray has had early on in his career during the playoffs, he hasn't been flawless.