Who played well in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it's not. NHL.com graded the players in the Nashville Predators' 5-1 home victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday. Here are the players who stood out the most.
Roman Josi (Predators) -- He drove the play at both ends of the ice all night. His power-play goal at 5:51 of the second period tied the game at 1-1 and he assisted on the next two goals. He played 23:36 and had a game-high six shots. He also was part of the defensive rotation that held Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin without a shot.
Frederick Gaudreau (Predators) -- The rookie forward scored for the second time in three games. His goal at 6:33 of the second period was the game-winner and it was a beautiful shot. Gaudreau played 13:01 and had two shots. He also centered Filip Forsberg at times when coach Peter Laviolette double-shifted Forsberg.
Mattias Ekholm (Predators) -- The defenseman scored his first goal of the postseason on a third-period power play, but it was his defensive work and his physical play that stood out. He was a force to be reckoned with in front of Pekka Rinne, epitomized by the vicious battle he had in the second period with Pittsburgh forward Carl Hagelin. Each received a roughing minor.
Colton Sissons (Predators) -- The center did not have a point, but he was noticeable on almost every shift. He was engaged in the offensive zone, helping his line get going on the cycle numerous times. He also was the Nashville player to have sustained faceoff success. He won 11-of-17 draws (65 percent) on a night when the Predators won 47 percent.
Craig Smith (Predators) -- He scored his first goal of the playoffs on a beautiful breakaway that was finished with a quick snap shot past the glove of goaltender Matt Murray. Smith had five of Nashville's 33 shots, the most of any Predators forward, and had a team-high eight shot attempts.
Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Josi hammers home slapper for PPG
Jake Guentzel (Penguins) -- Nothing can seem to slow down the rookie sensation. He opened the game with his fourth goal of the Final. He has scored in all three games and his 13 goals for the playoffs is one off the rookie record of Dino Ciccarelli, set 36 years ago.
Carter Rowney (Penguins) -- He continues to be among the most physical of the Penguins forwards. He had five hits, the most of any player for the second straight game. He also blocked two shots and won 7-of-12 faceoffs.
Patric Hornqvist (Penguins) -- The forward did not see a ton of ice time, playing 13:35, but he was noticeable on virtually every shift. He was dangerous offensively with five shots on goal and six attempts. He also was a threat physically. He had three hits and was constantly creating havoc around Rinne.
Hank Williams Jr. (up) -- Perfect as the Seventh Man, Williams followed a strong performance by Martina McBride, who sang the National Anthem, with an even stronger job as the rev-up man. He was clad in a gold No. 76 jersey with his nickname, Bocephus, on the name plate and he riled up the crowd when he asked if they were ready for the Predators, a play off his famous "Are you ready for some football?" slogan.
Gnash (up) -- The Predators mascot is quite the showman. He started the festivities by rappelling from the ceiling, swinging from side to side above the ice as the crowd roared. In the second period, he climbed to the top of a 20-foot stepladder in a play to make the crowd cheer louder with each step. He was not tethered when he reached the top step. A real daredevil!
Pittsburgh's power play (down) -- Despite owning some of the most dangerous offensive players in the game, the power play has not managed a goal in the 10 opportunities in the past two games. The only power-play goal in the series came on a 5-on-3 by Malkin in the first period of Game 1.
Tommy Shaw (up) -- The lead singer for rock band Styx sat in with the house band and rocked out during the first intermission. He played "Blue Collar Man," "Too Much Time on my Hands" and "Renegade," which is a rally song used by another Pittsburgh team, the Steelers.
Matt Murray (down) -- Murray allowed five unanswered goals in a span of 27:19 during the second and third periods. He hadn't allowed a goal in 67:03 before Josi started the onslaught with a power-play goal at 5:51 of the second period. Murray had with 28 saves, but the five goals is the most he has allowed in his 28 Stanley Cup Playoff appearances.
Harry Zolnierczyk (up) -- The forward was inserted into the lineup by Laviolette to add more speed. Zolnierczyk, who had not played since Game 4 of the Western Conference Final, used his speed on a breakout to draw the penalty that led to the goal from Josi.
Nashville (up) -- The city made the ultimate statement as a hockey town with a party to celebrate the first Stanley Cup Final game here. It lasted more than 12 hours and it featured a mass invasion of Broadway, a free pregame concert by Jackson and a packed house for warmups that featured at least three standing ovations and a raucous chant supporting the beleaguered Rinne.
Evgeni Malkin (down) -- Malkin did not have a shot attempt, never mind a shot on goal in the game. He only played 15:53 and was in the penalty box, along with Crosby and Nashville's Forsberg, when Ekholm scored the final goal. Malkin also lost 7-of-9 faceoffs.
Sights and Sounds
Injured Nashville center Ryan Johansen with a one-word summation of the scene in Nashville for Game 3 on Saturday.
It was a crazy collection of humanity downtown throughout the day and night and the security forces, including the Metro Nashville Police Department, were on top of their game throughout.
"He's a classy guy. He always flosses." -- Predators goalie Pekka Rinne wading into the post-game discussion of P.K. Subban's breath
Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Subban on team's performance in win
"Those are important guys for us. We want them to get pucks on the net because they have the ability to score." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan talking about Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, neither of whom had a shot in Game 3