Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole will be keeping his own blog throughout the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators. Cole will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.
Cole, 28, is in his second season with the Penguins. They acquired him in a trade from the St. Louis Blues on March 2, 2015. He won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season, and scored 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 81 games this season.
Here is Cole's fourth entry, before Game 4 against the Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (8 p.m ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports):
NASHVILLE -- It's a 2-1 series now, but this was always going to be a series, a good series.
The Nashville Predators are a great hockey team and it's going to be a challenge to beat them, to win this thing. The Stanley Cup Final always is challenging. It's not easy at this time of the year. It never will be. But we need to step up and meet that challenge.
We lost Game 3. It was 5-1. I wouldn't say they caught us off guard, but they were down 0-2 in the series and they knew they couldn't go down 0-3. That's a really tough hole to climb out of. They were desperate Saturday night and we didn't really match their desperation level.
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They weren't just going to roll over and die. They were going to push back. They were going to try to rectify that 2-0 hole they were in. And they did.
But it's the playoffs. Today is a new day. You have to park it at one game, move past it, come back and get ready for the next one, for Game 4 on Monday. That's the key. That's the resiliency you need to be successful in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
One game doesn't make or break your postseason, but it's how you respond that matters.
A lot has been made about the noise in the building Saturday night. It was loud but it was fine.
You can look at the noise and the, shall we say, hostility the fans showed toward us one of two ways. You can kind of crawl inside of yourself and take it to heart and be intimidated by it, or you can embrace it and play the villain, go out and try to score first. That's what we did.
It wasn't intimidating to us. The noise is something we are excited about. It's energy we can feed off of and you saw it at the start. We came out and had quite a good start, got a lead, 1-0.
Unfortunately, we didn't stick to that too long. They pushed back hard and we couldn't answer it right away. They scored two quick ones on us, then after that we pushed back, but they got the third late in the first period.
So we park it and we move on.
Off the ice, it's easy to remember this is the Stanley Cup Final. My wife is here in Nashville. My parents are here too. They don't typically come on road trips, but they're here to experience this too.
But they're all very respectful to what I have to do here, why I'm here in the first place. This is a business trip for me, for this team. The first time I saw them here wasn't until after the game Saturday.
This isn't a vacation. It's not like we're experiencing Nashville, going to the bars, listening to live music. I think I speak for everyone on the team when I say it's a business trip and we've got to take care of business.