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Stanley Cup Final

Predators know improvement needed in Game 3 of Final

Nashville has to raise level of play against Penguins at home after back-to-back losses in Pittsburgh

by Robby Stanley / Correspondent

NASHVILLE -- As well as the Nashville Predators have played at times in the Stanley Cup Final, it hasn't yet been good enough to get a win.

They trail the best-of-7 series 2-0 heading into Game 3 at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVA Sports), and believe there is another level they have to reach in order to defeat the Penguins.

"I thought we played two good games in Pittsburgh, but obviously it wasn't good enough to win," Nashville defenseman Roman Josi said Friday. "I think there's definitely adjustments in the defensive zone as well as the offensive zone that we can do better."

The Predators are largely happy with the way they played in the first two games. They outshot the Penguins 64-39 but allowed nine goals, losing 5-3 in Game 1 (with an empty-net goal) and 4-1 in Game 2. The Predators have dominated in the offensive zone for stretches, but the Penguins have scored in spurts; Pittsburgh got three goals in 4:11 in the first period of Game 1 to take a 3-0 lead, and got three goals in the first 3:18 of the third period in Game 2 to break a 1-1 tie.

"If I'm being honest, there would probably be about 10 minutes of the 120 that I wish we could do over and just tighten things up," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "That little span in Game 1 and then the start of the third period that probably lasted four or five minutes."

Video: Looking ahead to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final

Penguins goalie Matt Murray made 37 saves in Game 2, and the Predators felt they didn't do a good enough job capitalizing on rebounds. They want to make it more difficult for Murray to see the puck in Game 3.

"I think just bear down, get a little bit more traffic in front of Murray," forward James Neal said. "He's a good goalie, sees the puck well. For us, I think we've got to go there and get some dirty goals, look for rebounds, get pucks there as much as we can. I think we did a good job of that through spurts of Game 1 and 2, but we definitely have room for improvement and we need to be better because we've got to score."

The Predators hadn't trailed in a series this postseason before losing Game 1 to the Penguins. Nashville had a day off the ice Thursday and practiced Friday to work through some adjustments they want to make heading into Game 3.


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"It's a little different than the first couple rounds," Josi said. "You almost play every other day. I think it's good for both teams, I guess. You can go over some things, you can correct some things in practice."

The Predators are 7-1 at home during the playoffs and have outscored opponents 25-13.

"We've got a lot of belief in this team, a lot of confidence in the team," Josi said. "All we have to focus on right now is [Game 3]. We've got to win Game 3, and that's our focus right now."

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