GAUDREAU HELPS PREDATORS EVEN STANLEY CUP FINAL AT 2-2
The Nashville Predators scored three unanswered goals, including the go-ahead goal by forward Frederick Gaudreau at 3:45 of the second period, for a 4-1 victory in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins to even the best-of-7 series 2-2.
* Gaudreau, who signed with the Predators as an undrafted free agent Jan. 5, 2016 and made his NHL debut Oct. 22 against the Penguins, has his first three NHL goals (regular season and playoffs, 15 games played) in the Stanley Cup Final. The only other NHL player to score his first three career goals (regular season and playoffs) in the Stanley Cup Final was the Chicago Blackhawks' John Harms in 1944 against the Montreal Canadiens, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
* Gaudreau scored the decisive goal for the second straight game, following his winner at 6:33 of the second period in Game 3. Rookies have accounted for all four game-winning goals thus far in the Stanley Cup Final, with Penguins forwards Jake Guentzel scoring the other two. No other Final has featured four winning goals from rookies since the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup in 1926-27.
* Gaudreau became the third rookie with consecutive game-winning goals in the Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took sole possession of the trophy in 1926-27 but is the second to do so in this series, following Guentzel in Games 1 and 2. The other: Roy Conacher, who scored the winner for the Boston Bruins in Games 3, 4 and 5 of the 1939 Final against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
* Rookies have scored nine of the 24 total goals thus far in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final (37.5 percent): Four by Guentzel, three by Gaudreau, and one each by Predators forward Pontus Aberg and Penguins forward Scott Wilson. Elias notes that it is the highest combined rookie total in the Final since the NHL took control of the Stanley Cup in 1926-27, breaking the record of eight in 1973, 1980 and 1981.
* The Predators became the 13th team to even the Stanley Cup Final at 2-2 after falling behind 2-0 in the series out of 51 total instances since the format went to best-of-7 in 1939. Four of the prior 12 clubs went on to win the Stanley Cup: the 1966 and 1971 Montreal Canadiens, the 2009 Penguins and the 2011 Bruins.
Video: Preds even series with help from Rinne in 4-1 win
Home Team in Caps
NASHVILLE 4, Pittsburgh 1 - series tied 2-2
PREDATORS, RINNE CONTINUE HOME DOMINANCE
Pekka Rinne stopped 23 shots, including all 18 he faced after the opening period, to help the Predators improve to a League-best 9-1 at home in the playoffs. They have a plus-19 (34-15) goal differential at Bridgestone Arena.
* Rinne, who has started all 10 of Nashville's home postseason games, has a 1.44 goals-against average and .949 save percentage in those games. He has allowed two or fewer goals in eight of those 10 games.
* The Kempele, Finland, native got his 36th career NHL playoff win in his 68th game, tying Antti Niemi (67 games) for the most in NHL history by a Finland-born goaltender.
* Home teams have won 37 of the past 53 games in the Stanley Cup Final dating to 2009 (69.8 percent), including all four this year.
DID YOU KNOW?
The Stanley Cup Final will require at least six games for the ninth time in the last 10 years and 15th time in the past 18 years.
IMPORTANCE OF GAME 5
The team that has won Game 5 after a split of the opening four games of the Final has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 17 of 24 times (70.8 percent) since the series adopted the best-of-7 format in 1939.
However, the club that has lost Game 5 has rebounded to win the series in four of the past eight such occasions: The Colorado Avalanche in 2001, the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, the Penguins in 2009 and the Bruins in 2011.
1984-85 OILERS VOTED GREATEST NHL TEAM
The NHL announced that the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers have been selected by fans as the Greatest NHL Team following more than 3.6 million votes cast over a six-week period from April 13 to May 25.
The top 10, as voted by fans:
1. 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers
2. 1991-92 Pittsburgh Penguins
3. 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
4. 1987-88 Edmonton Oilers
5. 1986-87 Edmonton Oilers
6. 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings
7. 1982-83 New York Islanders
8. 1977-78 Montreal Canadiens
9. 1983-84 Edmonton Oilers
10. 2001-02 Detroit Red Wings
ICYMI: 1984-85 Oilers teammates Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey attended Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, with Basketball Hall of Famer and current NBA analyst Charles Barkley crashing their press conference.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby snapped a 12-game goal drought in the Stanley Cup Final, dating to 2009, to move into sole possession of 20th place on the NHL all-time playoff points list with 161 (57 goals, 104 assists) in 161 games. … Predators captain Mike Fisher had one assist while celebrating his 37th birthday. … Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 22 saves but sustained consecutive losses for the first time in 30 career NHL playoff games. He now is 7-1 following a loss. … Twelve Predators found the scoresheet … ICYMI: The NHL/NHLPA Competition Committee issued a pair of rule recommendations. … Renowned Canadian artist Tony Harris unveiled portraits of Max Bentley and Brad Park as part of the NHL Centennial Celebration. … Top prospects Casey Mittelstadt, Nico Hischier, Gabriel Vilardi and Nolan Patrick attended Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final.
SNEAK PEEK AT THURSDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Nashville @ Pittsburgh, series tied 2-2, 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports