Predators defeat Penguins 4-1, even up series at 2-2

Fans gather in support of the Nashville Predators run in the Stanley Cup Finals. (Tayhlor Stephenson / Sidelines)

Photo by Tayhlor Stephenson / Assistant Lifestyles Editor

The Nashville Predators were back on home ice for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, tying the series at two wins apiece with a dominant 4-1 victory on Monday night.

Most of the first period was filled with basic back-and-forth passing and turnovers for both teams. Lighting the way at the 14:41 mark of the period was Nashville’s Calle Jarnkrok. After a re-direct from Craig Smith, Jarnkrok tapped the puck over the the leg of Pittsburgh goaltender Matt Murray for the first score of the game.

Penguins’ coach Mike Sullivan decided to challenge the goal on the ground of goaltender interference, but the goal was upheld and gave the Preds an early 1-0 lead. Jarnkrok was assisted by Smith and Austin Watson on the score.

A little over a minute later, Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby scored a goal on a breakaway. Crosby’s shot initially hit the goalpost, but deflected off of Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne’s skate for the tying goal. Crosby was assisted by Brian Dumoulin.

Arguably the most exciting goal of the night came early in the second period from the Preds’ Frederick Gaudreau. After his wrap-around shot was waved off as a save by Murray, NHL officals called Bridgestone Arena to tell the referees to review the play. Upon review, the head referee determined there was indisputable evidence that the puck crossed the line.

Gaudreau’s go-ahead goal was assisted by Ryan Ellis and Harry Zolnierczyk.

Later in the period, Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson got his turn on a breakaway after two impressive diving passes from Mike Fisher and James Neal. Arvidsson’s goal gave the Preds a 3-1 lead heading to the final period.

Filip Forsberg sealed Pittsburgh’s fate with an empty net goal at the 16:37 mark of the final period, assisted by Mattias Ekholm. When all was said and done, the Preds took a 4-1 victory to tie the series at 2-2.

3 Stars of the game

3) Frederick Gaudreau – one goal: Gaudreau became the first player since 1944 to score his first three goals in the NHL in a Stanley Cup Final series.

2) Mike Fisher – one assist: The captain of the team tallied a point on his 37th birthday and helped the Preds even the series on home ice.

1)Pekka Rinne – 23 saves: Rinne rediscovered his confidence and elevated his level of play to secure two back-to-back wins in games 3 and 4.

What’s next?

The teams will travel to Pittsburgh and play game 5 on Thursday at 7 p.m. The Predators have opened ticket sales for a watch party inside Bridgestone Arena, costing season ticket holders $5 and the general public $15.

To contact Sports Editor Rusty Ellis, email

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