That deficit is no more. 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.
The situation is simple now: to give themselves a chance, Nashville must win on Sunday night in a building where they've only suffered one loss in the 2017 postseason.
"I don't know that we feel that we're against the ropes". The Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins are scheduled to play Game 4 in the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals Monday. "Could have had results in both those games".
Funny, Rinne hardly looked rattled back home, holding Pittsburgh to just two goals combined as Nashville rallied to tie things up in front of a giddy home crowd that included Underwood, who was so caught up in Cup fever she overlooked husband Mike Fisher's 37th birthday. "And so this is another game tonight".
Malkin, the second highest producing current player in the post-season after Crosby, wanted to do a better job himself of keeping and shooting the puck more. It's the playoffs. You'd expect him to say that. We have to at some point.
If that's the case, we may see this Terrible Towl-wrapped catfish make its return as a good omen for the defending Stanley Cup champions. The Penguins have been outshot by a 123-91 margin by the Predators, for an average of eight shots per game. "It's a good time to show your best game because there's only three games left and (then) we have two, three months (of) summertime".
"The only way you can do your very best to control the outcome is to focus on the process", he said. "Those are your only two choices".
Counting the regular season and playoffs, the Penguins have connected on 25.3 of their power plays at home this year, compared to 19.5 percent on the road.
Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray, left, stops a point-blank shot by Nashville Predators' Craig Smith during the third period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.
Sidney Crosby scored the Penguins only goal that way, beating Rinne on a first period breakaway. But just as the Predators started to gain some structure in their game, Evgeni Malkin wristed a top-shelf shot past goalie Pekka Rinne late in the first period. P.K. Subban is so much fun it can drive Mike Milbury nuts. We played well at home and they have always had our back. They have to win two of three games to do it again, and I believe that's possible.
Maybe the biggest difference to the Predators though is goaltending.
"He'll score", Malkin said of Kessel, who has 30 goals and 63 points in 69 career playoff games. Fans don't win games, players do.
Murray also said he thought Murray played "pretty well", only saying he wished he would have been more aggressive in challenging a shot by Predators wing Viktor Arvidsson in the second period. "Two teams that skate well up and down the ice", Rinne said Wednesday from the team hotel.
Rookies accounted for the game-winning goals in the first four games of the series, with Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel connecting in Games One and Two and Gaudreau answering for the Preds in Games Three and Four.style="text-align: center;"