Storyline: Nashville Predators defenseman P.K. Subban promises Game 3 win.
Jake Guentzel scored his league-leading 13th goal of the postseason only 2:46 into the opening frame to give the Penguins the early 1-0 lead.
Both teams traded chances however the Guentzel opening goal was the only score after one period of play.
Nashville outshot Pittsburgh 12-6 in the opening 20 minutes.
The second period began with both teams trading chances but failing to score either way. That was until a holding penalty from Pittsburgh defenseman Justin Schultz sent Nashville to the powerplay.
In the dying seconds of the odd-man advantage Predators defenseman Roman Josi fired a shot from the right point that deflected off a Penguin player in front of goaltender Matt Murray and into the net to tie the game 1-1.
Only 42 seconds later the Predators scored off a strong individual effort from Frederick Gaudreau. Gaudreau cut from the left wall to the center of the Pittsburgh zone before using Penguins defenseman Ian Cole as a screen to beat Matt Murray with a wrist shot glove-side from the hashmarks.
The Predators countered the Penguins’ momentum with opportunities of their own and with 22.6 seconds left in the period winger James Neal, off a strong play by teammate Viktor Arvidsson behind the net, banked a puck off the back of Matt Murray and into the net to give Nashville a two-goal lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
Nashville outshot Pittsburgh 16-13 in the second period and hits were 27-18 in favor of the Predators after two periods.
Going into the 3rd the Penguins had the slight advantage on the faceoff winning 51.1%
Nashville extended its two-goal lead to three on a turnover from Penguin forward Chris Kunitz that resulted in a Craig Smith breakaway goal glove-side on Matt Murray.
Pittsburgh pressured Nashville to get back into the game to no avail. Evgeni Malkin took a matching penalty with Predators forward Filip Forsberg each for cross checking behind the play. On the same shift Sidney Crosby took a penalty for boarding Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis.
There would be no more goals in the game yet the physicality maintained. Five separate players were given 10-minute misconducts in the final five minutes of the game in order to keep the scrums from escalating.
The final shot total was 33-28 in favor of Nashville who also had more hits in the game 33-26.
Pittsburgh had 20 blocked shots to Nashville’s 12 and won the majority of the faceoffs with 52.9%.
Pittsburgh was 0/3 on the powerplay while Nashville was 2/3
Final Score 5-1 - Game 4 is Monday night 8pm EST
Photo: (CBC Sports)