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Stanley Cup Final Game 4 Live Blog: Predators vs. Penguins

Nashville wins again at home to even best-of-7 series

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / NHL.com Director of Editorial

Welcome to Game 4 of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Nashville Predators.

NHL.com Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke was in Bridgestone Arena to provide the sights, sounds and news throughout the game.

 

11:10 p.m.

After four games, the Stanley Cup Final is all even.

The Nashville Predators won Game 4, 4-1, against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Bridgestone Arena on Monday to even the best-of-7 series at two games each.

Game 5 is Thursday at PPG Paints Arena (8 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, CBC, TVA Sports).

Nashville outscored Pittsburgh 9-2 in the two games here after being outscored 9-4 in the first two games in Pittsburgh.

Filip Forsberg scored an empty-net goal with 3:20 remaining, firing a puck from his own goal line into the empty net after goalie Matt Murray was pulled as the Penguins chased a two-goal hole.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Forsberg pads lead with empty-netter

Calle Jarnkrok, Frederick Gaudreau and Victor Arvidsson also scored for the Predators. Sidney Crosby, the best player on the ice for the Penguins on Monday, scored the only Pittsburgh goal.

Pekka Rinne, who allowed eight goals in his first two games, has re-discovered his game, allowing two goals in the two games in Nashville. He made 23 saves, including a dramatic three-save sequence in which he denied Crosby twice and then swatted away a put-back by Jake Guentzel destined for an empty net.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Rinne turns aside Kunitz's breakaway

Rinne also stopped two other breakaways, including one by Chris Kunitz when the score was still 1-1.
Matt Murray made 23 saves, but has allowed eight goals in the past two games as he lost back-to-back decisions for the first time in 29 postseason appearances.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: The @PredsNHL are first team to even the #StanleyCup Final at 2-2 after facing a 2-0 series deficit since Boston in 2011 (4-3 series win). pic.twitter.com/7EuFGjUZdx

 

10:44 p.m.

With 10 minutes left, Pittsburgh is having trouble generating offense as the Predators adopt a more defensive shell while leading 3-1.

Looking for goals, the Penguins have four shots in the third period. Another attempt, by Evgeni Malkin on a wraparound, hit the post.

Pekka Rinne, who has stopped 15 straight shots, also denied Sidney Crosby on another very good opportunity.

Video: Charles Barkley joins broadcast and pokes fun at J.R.

 

10:35 p.m.

We are ready to start the third period with the Predators leading 3-1.

Frederick Gaudreau gave Nashville the lead in the second period with a goal that was awarded by the NHL's situation room.

He scored on a wraparound, but goalie Matt Murray appeared to make the save and play continued.

Thirty-five seconds later, play was stopped by the Situation Room for a review and a goal was awarded.

Here is the explanation: At 4:20 of the second period in the Penguins/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine Frederick Gaudreau's shot at 3:45. Video review determined that Gaudreau's shot crossed the Pittsburgh goal line. According to Rule 38.6 "In the event that a video replay shows a goal was scored prior to the play being stopped, the Video Goal Judge will inform the Game Timekeeper and Official Scorer of the time and the amount of playing time left to be reset on the game clock and penalty time clocks (if applicable)." Therefore the clock is reset to show 16:15 (3:45 elapsed time) and good goal Nashville.

The goal was the third of the Final for Gaudreau, but it was also the third of his career. He is only the second player in NHL history to score his first three goals in the Final. John Harms of the Chicago Blackhawks did it in 1944.

 

10:12 p.m.

The Nashville Predators are 20 minutes from sending the Stanley Cup Final best-of-7 series back to Pittsburgh tied at two games each.

The Predators lead 3-1 on goals by Calle Jarnkrok, Frederick Gaudreau and Viktor Arvidsson.

Gaudreau, on a wraparound, and Arvidsson, on a breakaway, scored in the second period to break a 1-1 tie.

Mike Fisher, on his 37th birthday, had the primary assist on the Arvidsson goal. Fisher has four points in the Final after not registering a point in the first three rounds.

Pekka Rinne has 13 saves, but was game-changer for the Predators in the second period. He made three saves on Jake Guentzel, who has 13 goals this postseason and stopped breakaways from Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Matt Murray has 12 saves and has allowed eight goals in the past four periods.

 

9:56 p.m.

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne is having himself a period and the Predators have built the lead to 3-1 on a goal by Viktor Arvidsson at 13:10 on a breakaway.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Arvidsson strikes on a breakaway

Mike Fisher set up the breakaway with a one-handed pass as he was falling down in the neutral zone.
But, Rinne has been the star of the period.

A brilliant three-save sequence on a partial breakaway by Sidney Crosby and a follow-up put-back attempt by Jake Guentzel has the Bridgestone Arena faithful in a lather.

Rinne stopped the initial shot by Crosby and was in place for a soft rebound attempt, but could not cover the puck and it squirted into the crease. Defenseman Roman Josi got his stick on the puck but couldn't clear it and then Guentzel swooped in and looked to be ready to slam the puck into the net, but Rinne crawled/lunged to make the save.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Rinne makes series of outstanding stops

 

9:42 p.m.

Nashville has re-taken the lead, 2-1, on a goal by Frederick Gaudreau, who has three goals in the Stanley Cup Final.

Gaudreau scored on a wraparound at 3:45 but nobody saw the puck cross the goal line initially and play continued for another 35 seconds before play was stopped and the goal could be reviewed.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Gaudreau extends lead with a wraparound

Pekka Rinne made two huge saves before the goal by Gaudreau. One was on a one-timer from Jake Guentzel on a pass from Sidney Crosby. The other was on a breakaway by Chris Kunitz.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Rinne extends pad to rob Guentzel

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Frederick Gaudreau is the second player in NHL history to score his first three career goals in the #StanleyCup Final (John Harms in 1944). pic.twitter.com/dDPVo0HRiO

 

9:30 p.m.

We're off in the second period, the game tied 1-1.

The Penguins, who had six shots in the first period, start on the power play in the second period with 1:18 remaining on the interference penalty on James Neal.

Pittsburgh's power play, which has struggled all series, looked a bit stronger in the last minute of the first period and Sidney Crosby, who scored the Penguins' goal had a good chance on the doorstep.

Crosby's goal was his first in 12 Final games, his first since the 2009 Final. He did not have a goal against San Jose in the Final last season.

Crosby, who had an assist on Pittsburgh's only goal in Game 3, has 161 points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, passing Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Al MacInnis and Bobby Smith for sole possession of No. 20 on the list.

 

9:15 p.m.

The first period of Game 4 ends in a 1-1 tie.

Calle Jarnkrok opened the scoring with a rebound goal and the Sidney Crosby answered 66 seconds later with his first Stanley Cup goal in eight years and one day.

The Crosby goal, his eight of the postseason, came off a turnover from James Neal and featured Crosby faking a slap shot and then the backhand deke before banking it off the far post and the skate of goalie Pekka Rinne.

Crosby's goal stopped a run of six straight goals by the Predators, dating back to the second period of Game 3.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Sidney Crosby (57-104���161) passed Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Al MacInnis & Bobby Smith (160) for 20th in all-time playoff points. #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/3KrdzqHH0c

Pittsburgh will start the second period on the power play as Neal was assessed an interference penalty with 42 seconds remaining in the period.

 

9:05 p.m.

After a cautious first half to the period, each team is finding a bit of offensive footing as they scored 1:06 apart to make it 1-1.

Center Calle Jarnkrok capped off back-to-back strong shifts when he slammed home a rebound of a Craig Smith shot at 14:51.

It was Nashville's fifth shot on goal in the period.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Jarnkrok buries a rebound past Murray

The goal was challenged by Pittsburgh on the basis of goalie interference but it was not overturned.

Sidney Crosby answered with a breakaway attempt in which he faked a shot and then tried to tuck it in short side. The puck banked off the post and went in. It was Pittsburgh's fourth short of game.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Crosby nets slick backhand on break

 

8:45 p.m.

This is the first feeling-out process we have had in the series, and it comes in the fourth game.

Both teams were slow to get off the mark Monday. The first shot, from either team, came from Pittsburgh defenseman Ian Cole at 5:05.

Filip Forsberg had Nashville's first shot at 6:07, a Grade-A opportunity as he poached a turnover in the slot and took a slapper turned aside by Matt Murray.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Murray shuts the door on Forsberg

Nashville had the only power play in the first 10 minutes after Patric Hornqvist was whistled for tripping. The Predators did not manage a shot on goal.

There has been a fair bit of hitting in the first half of the period as each team tries to get in on the forecheck and gets its puck-possession game in gear.

 

8:30 p.m.

The Nashville Predators keep bringing the stars to start games.

Country star Dierks Bentley, who is also a rec league hockey player in the Nashville area, sang the national anthem and Jason Aldean, in a No. 9 Predators jersey, was the towel-waving Seventh Man for Game 4.

In Game 3, it was Martina McBride with the anthem and the Seventh Man duties were performed by Hank Williams Jr.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Dierks Bentley performs national anthem

 

8:15 p.m.

Changes are the order of the day for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4.

Center Nick Bonino is not healthy enough to play and forward Scott Wilson is also out, so the Penguins have shuffled their lines quite a bit.

Jake Guentzel, who has four goals in the first three games of the Final, is on a line with Sidney Crosby and Bryan Rust. Carl Hagelin, who returned to the lineup in Game 3, is on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist. Phil Kessel, a staple on Malkin's line, is now on a line with Matt Cullen and Chris Kunitz. The fourth line is Josh Archibald, in for Wilson, Conor Sheary and Carter Rowney.

The defense has also been adjusted back to the pairs that played in Game 2: Brian Dumoulin and Ron Hainsey, Olli Matta and Trevor Daley and Ian Cole and Justin Schultz.

The Predators have not made any changes from Game 3.

 

7:17 p.m.

It's Monday and the weather is nowhere as nice as it was on Saturday for Game 3, but that has not put a damper on the party in and around Bridgestone Arena.

After more than 50,000 people flooded the downtown area on Saturday for Game 3, a 5-1 victory by the Nashville Predators against the Pittsburgh Penguins, it will be interesting to see what the numbers look like for Monday.

At 5:30 p.m. local time, the viewing area on the plaza was already full and Broadway was jammed with Predators fans and those here to hear another free concert.

But, this is about more than just a party for the Predators and their fans. A win tonight evens the best-of-7 series at two games each heading back to Pittsburgh for Game 5 on Thursday. A loss on Monday by the Predators sends the Penguins home with the first of what would be up to three chances to repeat as Stanley Cup champion, the first team to do so since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998.

Pittsburgh has lineup issues heading into the game. Center Nick Bonino is a game-time decision. He skated Sunday after missing Game 3 with a lower-body injury sustained when he blocked a shot by Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban in the first period of Game 2.

Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan also juggled his defensive rotation a bit during practice on Sunday and there is a possibility that he will try to shuffle up his forward combinations in an attempt to lessen the matchup issues presented by the deep Nashville defensive rotation.

The Predators are expected to ice the same lineup that found its offensive rhythm in Game 3, scoring five unanswered goals in the second and third period on Saturday.

Other than the lineup drama, the other big pre-game questions are who will sing the national anthem and who will serve as the towel-waving Seventh Man. Country legend Martina McBride sang Sunday and Hank Williams Jr. handled the towel-waving duties with aplomb.

We already know of one celebrities that will be in the house: Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Wayne Gretzky. 

The Great One was here to introduce the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers as the Greatest NHL Team, as selected by the fans during a six-week voting period. Gretzky captained that team, which won the second of four consecutive championships. That postseason, Gretzky set records for assists (30) and points (47) in one playoff year. He also tied the modern record shared by Jean Beliveau (1956) and Mike Bossy (1982) for most goals (17) in the Stanley Cup Final, with seven in five games.

Video: 1984-85 Oilers dominate to claim second straight Cup

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