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Stanley Cup Final

P.K. Subban of Predators comes through on guarantee in Game 3 win

Nashville defenseman nails prediction, helps shut down Penguins

by Lisa Dillman @reallisa / Staff Writer

NASHVILLE -- The guarantee of a win in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday came from Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban.

It was left to his colleagues to handle the method of delivery, the finer details, if you will. The Predators defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 in Game 3 at Bridgestone Arena, where they celebrated the first Cup Final game played in Nashville.

The Penguins lead the best-of-7 series 2-1. Game 4 will be here on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Penguins series coverage | Pekka Rinne rebounds, helps Predators to Game 3 win]


"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter what was said before the game," Subban said. "The game is over and we won. And now we're going to look forward to Game 4."

Roman Josi had a goal and two assists for the Predators, the first defenseman with at least three points in a Cup Final game since Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010. Josi was once one of the better-kept secrets in the League, a defenseman with creativity who is capable of logging big minutes with no noticeable decline in his performance.

Predators coach Peter Laviolette praised Josi's game-in, game-out consistency. Josi's off-nights are rare.

"You're absolutely right with your assessment," Laviolette said. "He's as consistent a player as there is in the National Hockey League. Day in and day out at practice, every game, he gives the same quality performance.

"He's an excellent 200-foot defenseman. He plays as well in the defensive zone as he does in the offensive zone."

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Josi hammers home slapper for PPG

The Predators' system is ideal for Josi too.

"Allows us defensemen to jump up in the play," Josi said. "[Laviolette] wants us to jump up and make something happen in the offensive zone too.

"Everybody wanted to step up this game a little bit, the whole team. We knew we could play better. I thought the team did a great job."

Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm picked the right time to score his first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and had an assist. Crucially, the Predators shut down the once-potent Penguins power play for the second straight game.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Ekholm scorches a slapper for PPG

Pittsburgh is 0-for-10 on the power play in the past two games. Subban said the penalty killers did a better job of moving their legs.

"We're doing a good job of blocking shots and trying to limit their time and space," Subban said. "It's tough. It's hard. We're going to have to continue to work as hard as we've been working to have success on the penalty kill."

Last, but not least: Penguins forwards Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a shot on goal.

"Those two players are great players in their own right, and it's a collective thing," Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "It's not just the D doing it; it's the forwards helping the D.

"We've done a decent job all series at trying to limit their chances, but they're very opportunistic and tonight [Rinne] was unbelievable again for us. It was a much better effort from our team."

Late in the game, a frustrated Crosby engaged in some curious smack talk with Subban, according to the Predators defenseman.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Subban on team's performance in win

"Usually when guys chirp after a game or during a game, it's usually about your game," Subban said. "Or something personal. He went on to tell me that my breath smelled bad. I really don't understand why, because I use Listerine before the game. I thought my breath smelled great."

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne may have had the best line of the night on the bad-breath controversy.

"He's a classy guy," Rinne said of Subban. "He always flosses."

By making the guarantee, Subban helped divert of the tougher focus away from Rinne, who was under scrutiny after the first two games of this series.

There was no doubt Subban would be asked if he had a prediction for Game 4. The media around standing around Subban -- briefly sidetracked by the amusing Listerine quotes -- eventually got back to the prediction game.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Josi, Rinne and Neal speak after Game 3

"Like I said before Game 3, I said we're going to win this game and then we'll move forward," Subban said. "We're going to move forward."

Subban had one more prediction for Monday.

"If you thought it was loud today, I'm sure it will be even louder Game 4," he said.

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