The Predators are back in the series after a 5-1 throttling of the Pens Saturday inside a raucous Bridgestone Arena. In the first ever Stanley Cup Final game in the state of Tennessee, the Preds got the franchise’s first ever Final win. The series now shifts to a pivotal Game 4 Monday night.
-As PK Subban (Mr. Guarantee) said in his postgame interview, the issue for Nashville in Games 1 and 2 wasn’t necesarily bad hockey. It was the pedigree of the Pens, and some leakiness from Rinne. That all changed in Game 3 as the Preds controlled play, got the bounces, and most importantly got a stellar outing from Rinne.
-Funny how the goalie questions have flown back and forth in this series. Some of the Preds’ goals tonight were soft giveaways (ahem, Kunitz) by Murray. He had to make some of those saves. Now all of a sudden it’s Pittsburgh with the “goalie issue” heading into Game 4. That’s a very reactionary way to look at it but I’m sure there’s some in black and gold wondering what Fleury could do. My gut says stay with Murray for Game 4.
-When the Pens scored early on Rinne it looked like maybe the wheels were about to come off for him and the Preds. Credit to Nashville, and Pekka, for responding. Rinne made some key saves after that, not allowing a goal the rest of the way, and a three-goal second vaulted the Preds in front for good.
-The noise inside Bridgestone Arena could be felt through the TV. The NHL has found a hidden gem this postseason, and it’s the city of Nashville. The league has never seen something like what’s unfolding right now. Such a unique party, different than everyone else. Pierre said the noise inside the arena was a notch below the old Chicago Stadium (regarded as the loudest building in the history of the league). While that noise is aided by the smaller size of Bridgestone, as say compared to the UC, it’s still a tremendous compliment to what that frenzied atmosphere is like.
-The stars are coming out in droves for the Preds, and it’s no longer just Carrie Underwood and Titans players. I was a little worried when Nashville didn’t bring out Carrie for the anthem, but when you can bring a killer voice off the bench like Martina McBride, you know it’ll be ok. Martina rocked it, maybe a little too much because some people thought she was off key, but who cares, it’s Martina and she gets a pass. She also later admitted it was possibly the most nervous she’s ever been.
Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman were also seen wildly celebrating a Preds goal as well, just adding to the star studded roster.
Oh, and Rex and Rob Ryan were there too.
And then there was this…
Series over. Congrats Nashville.
For those of you who don’t follow college football closely, don’t think for a single second that Nick Saban isn’t thinking about future recruiting interests in the city of Nashville.
-Well, it’s a series now. Game 4 is sure to be just as entertaining. My big question will be around Pittsburgh’s goaltending. Can the Preds and their crowd chase Murray early? Or will he respond as Rinne did in Game 3? We’ll see.