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Pekka Rinne among top performers in Game 4 of Final

Honor Roll, Stock Watch from Predators victory against Penguins

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

Who played well in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it's not. graded the players in the Nashville Predators' 4-1 home victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday. Here are the 10 who stood out the most.



Honor Roll

Pekka Rinne (Predators) -- He was brilliant. The only goal he allowed, to Sidney Crosby, involved two caroms before it went in the net. Plus, he made the signature save of the series so far, extending himself along the ice to swat away a put-back by Jake Guentzel that looked as if it was headed for the empty net.

Roman Josi (Predators) -- He was on his game, pinching aggressively and moving the puck throughout the offensive zone. He had two shots on goal and four blocked shots.

Filip Forsberg (Predators) -- He finally scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Final and it doesn't matter a lick that it went into an empty net. He was the most dangerous forward for the Predators throughout the game. He had four shots on goal and six shot attempts. He also had five hits.

Calle Jarnkrok (Predators) -- So much of what he does goes under the radar, but not Monday. Jarnkrok's willingness to go to the net paid off with the game's first goal, a rebound stuff past Matt Murray. Jarnkrok had three shots on goal and handled his defensive duties with aplomb.

Austin Watson (Predators) -- He is the wrecking ball that has wreaked havoc on the forecheck throughout the series. He had the most hits in the game (six) and his ability to tie up Olli Maatta on a drive to the net played a huge part in the Jarnkrok goal.

Viktor Arvidsson (Predators) -- His breakaway goal was an absolute beauty, a quick shot to the glove-hand side to make it 3-1. He was dangerous at other times as well, including one play in which he passed the puck between his own legs to shake away from the defender and set up a scoring chance. He was relentless on the forecheck as well.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Rinne dives for amazing blocker stop


Sidney Crosby (Penguins) -- There was no Penguins player close to Crosby in effectiveness. He scored the only goal and nearly set up Guentzel for another, but was stopped on a second-period breakaway. He had four shots on goal and six shot attempts in 22:15.

Jake Guentzel (Penguins) -- He did not score in Game 4 after having four goals in the first three games, but he was dangerous again and should have scored if not for the brilliance of Rinne.

Bryan Rust (Penguins) -- The forward had three shot attempts and four hits. His physical play opened up space for Crosby and Guentzel.

Matt Cullen (Penguins) -- He played his role as defensive conscience and clutch faceoff man pretty well. He was on for the game-winning goal, but he played 18:53, the most he has played in any game this postseason. He took a team-high 26 faceoffs and won 16 (62 percent).

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



Stock Watch

Dierks Bentley (up) -- The country crooner has been nominated for 13 Grammy Awards. He showed why with a stunning rendition of the national anthem less than 24 hours after a performance in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Charles Barkley (up) -- The NBA on TNT analyst was everywhere on Monday, flying into Nashville to catch a Stanley Cup Final game in person. He crashed the Wayne Gretzky press conference to announce the Greatest NHL Team, the 1984-85 Edmonton Oilers. He appeared on every pregame show in Nashville. He was in Commissioner Gary Bettman's box, waving a Nashville rally towel. The smile never left his face once.

Justin Schultz (down) -- The Penguins defenseman was on for each of the final three Predators goals.

Matt Murray (down) -- He has allowed eight goals on 58 shots in the two games in Nashville (.840 save percentage) and allowed 12 goals in the four games.

Home-ice advantage (up) -- The home team has won every game of the series, scoring 18 goals and conceding six. The atmosphere in each building has been nothing less than electric.

1984-85 Edmonton Oilers (up) -- Selected as the Greatest NHL Team through a fan vote conducted during the past six weeks. "We had a love for the game," said Gretzky, the captain. "All of us loved being at the rink. We loved playing and we loved practicing. I think from [Mark] Messier, to [Glenn] Anderson, to [Paul Coffey], to Kevin Lowe, to [Jari] Kurri, we showed up for practice. We practiced hard."

Mike Fisher (up) -- The Predators captain had no points entering the Stanley Cup Final and was coming off an unspecified injury. He has four points in the Final, the most recent coming on the goal by Arvidsson. Oh, yeah, Monday was birthday No. 37 for Fisher.

Frederick Gaudreau (up) -- The rookie center for the Predators had no goals in nine regular-season games. He has three in the Stanley Cup Final, including the game-winner in Game 4. He is the second player in history to score the first three goals of his career in the Final. John Harms of the Chicago Black Hawks was the other, in 1944.



Sights and Sounds

Tweet from @strombone1: If I don't get one of these " it's all your fault " chants in Nashville next season I'll be super upset

Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo having fun at the Tradition of Nashville fans to serenade the opposing goalie each time he lets up a goal.


Tweet from @Jason_Aldean: firing up the crowd before the @PredsNHL game tonight! #letsgopreds #stanleycupfinals #smashville

Country star Jason Aldean was fired up to be the Seventh Man at Bridgestone Arena for Game 4.


"These games, they're a lot closer. We've been on both sides of it here. Both teams have won two games. These games are a lot closer than sometimes the score indicates. I think that was the case in our building, and I think it was the case in this building." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan trying to put some perspective on a pair of losses in Nashville in which his team was outscored 9-2

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Sullivan on Penguins' Game 3 loss


"Best gift I could get today, for sure. Guys played unbelievable. I'm not going to enjoy it for too long because we got to get back to work. We know how much work we got ahead of us." -- Predators captain Mike Fisher, who had an assist on his birthday


Tweet from @carrieunderwood: And then this happened... #Smashville @OfficialGretzky

Carrie Underwood, on meeting Wayne Gretzky during Game 4.


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