After the Penguins jumped out to a 1-0 lead two minutes, 46 seconds into the first period, the Predators scored the final five goals to cut Pittsburgh's series lead to 2-1.
Predators' 2nd-Period Rally
The Predators got the momentum on their side 5:51 into the second period, when Roman Josi and Frederick Gaudreau scored within 42 seconds of each other. The NHL shared Gaudreau's goal:
The rip is great, the reaction is better. #StanleyCup https://t.co/ANSkV6CAxe2017-6-4 01:56:24
ProHockeyTalk's Mike Halford noted Gaudreau has had quite the whirlwind month:
Mike Halford @HalfordPHT
Friendly reminder that 38 days ago, Frederick Gaudreau was playing in the Calder Cup playoffs.2017-6-4 01:38:01
James Neal got in on the goal-scoring parade in the second period, putting Nashville up 3-1 with 23 seconds remaining before intermission. Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm added insurance goals in the third period to seal the win.
The internet had fun with Nashville finally getting reasons to cheer its team in the Stanley Cup Final:
Pete Blackburn @PeteBlackburn
Maybe the Predators weren’t scoring to save us from this awkwardness https://t.co/LYK7MFRLyY2017-6-4 01:54:05
Sports Illustrated @SInow
The Predators have awoken https://t.co/I5Jqcs4R2e https://t.co/JeHQxXcLeL2017-6-4 01:35:14
Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow
The Nashville Predators arena is bonkersss2017-6-4 00:21:04
Just as important for the Predators was the bounce-back effort from goalie Pekka Rinne. After allowing eight goals in the first two games, the 34-year-old rebounded with 27 saves on 28 shots and earned his first career victory over the Penguins.
NHL.com's Robby Stanley was complimentary of Rinne's ability to settle down after that early misstep:
Robby Stanley @RStanleyNHL
Full credit to Pekka Rinne. Looked shaky to start but has played very well since.2017-6-4 02:36:22
Jake Guentzel's Star Keeps Rising
The Penguins got to Rinne early thanks to Jake Guentzel's rebound shot under three minutes into the first period, which gave the visitors a 1-0 lead, as the team relayed on Twitter:
Pittsburgh Penguins @penguins
Daaaaaang. @jakenbake20 is on FIRE. 🔥 https://t.co/KK4PJ2OGvR2017-6-4 00:45:26
The 22-year-old Guentzel is having a spectacular postseason coming off a campaign in which he had 33 points in 40 games. He's got 20 points in 22 playoff contests, including four goals in the Stanley Cup Final.
On the list of accolades for Guentzel, ESPN Stats & Info highlighted this one:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Jake Guentzel: first with goal in first three games of a #StanleyCup Final since Red Wings’ Steve Yzerman, 1997 vs Flyers (via @EliasSports) https://t.co/OvQwzNL27P2017-6-4 00:45:28
The applause for Guentzel across social media was rapturous:
Michael Russo @Russostrib
50 pro goals in 95 games this season for Jake Guentzel, who played a college schedule the past three years2017-6-4 00:34:04
Jeopardy! Sports @JeopardySports
"Who is: Jake Guentzel?" #JeopardySports #StanleyCup https://t.co/gsWsXT2Ge22017-6-4 00:36:37
Greg Wyshynski @wyshynski
Once again, Guentzel builds his impressive Conn Smythe case were the award based on just three rounds and not the entirety of the postseason2017-6-4 00:30:48
Any hope the Predators had to win this series depended on their taking Game 3. Only four teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NHL playoffs, and the Penguins looked like an unstoppable machine in their two games at home.
The Predators held serve on their home ice, surpassing their goal total from the first two contests in Saturday's win and improving to 8-1 in front of their fans this postseason.
Now, the pressure shifts back to the Penguins, who must figure out how to overcome the intimidating presence that is Bridgestone Arena on Monday.