The first-period goals chased Rinne from Nashville's net; however, backup Juuse Saros ended up not faring any better.
Shortly after, Rinne not only stopped Sidney Crosby on a breakaway, but also recovered and dove across the crease to rob Jake Guentzel on a sure-fire goal. "It's a big game". "We know it's not going to be easy".
It was a familiar showing for Rinne. Game 4 only gave Pittsburgh one chance with a man advantage and it looked infinitely better than Game 3, but it's now been three games since the Penguins notched a power play goal and they need to break through. He's the team mascot whose picture is stuck on the Predators' locker-room door, now with two bandages commemorating playoff-ending injuries first to forward Kevin Fiala, then center Ryan Johansen. They are getting production from everyone who hits the ice, with 19 different players scoring at least one goal - two shy of the National Hockey League record of 21 held by the 1987 Philadelphia Flyers.
"Obviously not the start you want to have", Rinne said. We're not going to let this certainly get us down. Although, like Laviolette, he wouldn't make an ironclad commitment, though he did say, "The one comment I will make is that we didn't lose (Game 4) because of our goaltending". He was shaky in the Penguins' 5-3 win in Game 1, pulled in the Penguins' 4-1 in Game 2, solid in the Predators' 5-1 win in Game 3 and brilliant, particularly in a game-saving, second-period performance in the Predators' 4-1 win in Game 4. After the third goal went by him to end the period, his night was over.
Rinne insisted his confidence isn't shaken though he was disappointed with Thursday's result. "That's anybody's guess. I think both goalies have performed well and helped their teams win in their respective home buildings".
Sydney Crosby was the lone bright spot for the Penguins with his first period tally that he received an assist on from the post but that was it for the Pens attack. The Predators put some space between themselves and the Penguins late in the second period with Viktor Arvidsson's breakaway goal. Can either of these teams win on the road or will home ice carry the day? But they'll have to win again in Pittsburgh next week to lift the Stanley Cup.
When they left Pittsburgh last week, the Nashville Predators were in "nasty" 2-0 hole and their chances in the Stanley Cup final were looking grim.
After the loss on Monday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan was in no mood to debate a potential change in net. In fact, according to Luszczyszyn, only 27 of 32 teams that have been outshot by an average of four or more shots has gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
Thursday's victor will have a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup in Game 6 on Sunday night in Nashville.
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