NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Predators and the free world knew the score.
Down two games in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final, the third game was critical. A Predators loss would spell disaster.
Thousands of thousands Predators fans packed lower Broadway in support of their heroes on skates. A sellout 17,500 home crowd filled Bridgestone Arena. They were in full throat.
Never mind the Penguins had a 1-0 lead after the first period.
The Predators were not about to stage a meltdown on this night.
Instead, they unleashed an offensive arsenal that severely wounded the Penguins with a 5-1 beat down.
Five Predators goals, five catfish hit the ice if you are counting at home
They had worked too hard to get this far. As Preds defenseman P.K. Subban had casually said after Game 2, the Predators were going to win Game 3 and move on from there. The national media jumped on P.K.’s bravado. His teammates weren’t going to let him down.
Subban became the Joe Namath of hockey, at least for one game.
Those who thought Preds Coach Peter Laviolette was going to bench goalie Pekka Rinne need to have a brain scan. Rinne was back on track as he often does when the pressure is on.
It was a key game that held the Predators’ future in their inaugural Stanley Cup Final. If they had lost Saturday night it would present a mountain they could not climb.
It took 19 years for the Predators franchise to get here.
So the Predators are now behind two games to one. It feels so much better than 0-2. First team to four takes the Cup.
Game 3 is Monday at Bridgestone Arena (7:00 p.m.). It now becomes the most important game of the playoffs for the Predators.
Late in the game, the crowd in Bridgestone was chanting “We want the Cup … We want the Cup.’’
After the game, Subban had some parting words with Pens star Sidney Crosby. Subban said Crosby told him his breath was bad.
“I told him I used Listerine,’’ Subban said. “I don’t know what he was talking about.’’
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Subban needs to cozy up with his crystal ball and never let it out of his sight.
Joe Biddle is a WKRN.com sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at email@example.com.