JOE BIDDLE: Preds even the score

The puck shot by Pittsburgh Penguins’ Jake Guentzel lands in the net behind Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne for a goal during the third period in Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, May 31, 2017, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Do you believe in home ice advantage? Oh, yeah!! Especially when it came in Tune Town.

It worked two games in Pittsburgh and Nashville returned the favor in what was an impressive back-to-back wins in Smashville.

The home team posted a 4-1 win in Game 4.

It was the second period that would decide the game for the Predators. It was something to behold.

The Predators struck first when Calle Jarnrok jammed the puck past Pens goalie Mark Murray. The 1-0 Predators celebration didn’t last long.

The Penguins Sidney Crosby answered the Predators goal 66 seconds later to tie the score 1-1. Crosby’s goal momentarily dimmed the Predators sellout crowd and decibel level.

They entered the game changing second period tied at 1-all.

The Predators manufactured some breathing room in a wild and wooly second period.

Frederick Gaudreau’s shot attempt was discovered to be a goal after the officials looked at the replay. That put the Predators up 2-1, but the Pens never let up.

In one series of shots by the Pens found Rinne turning four of them back in a row.

Shortly after, James Neal got the puck to captain Mike Fisher who carried it up the ice and shoveled it ahead to Viktor Arvidsson.

Arvidsson honed in on Pens goalie Matt Murray and buried the puck in the net.

His goal gave the Preds a 3-1 lead with just over six minutes in the pivotal second period. The lead held up going into the third period.

The Predators were 20 minutes away from returning to Pittsburgh with each team winning two games.

Both teams have now held serve on home ice. Now we get to the real nitty-gritty. The Penguins have been outplayed in most of the games. Rest assured they will make some changes in Game 5.

It’s now down to the best two of three games. The Final moves to Pittsburgh Thursday. It will return to Smashville for Game 6 and if needed Game 7 on June 14 in the Penguins back yard.

It was all Predators most of the night in Game 4. They stayed out of the penalty box. They matched the Pens punch for punch. They did what it took to send the Penguins back home having lost two games in a row.

The home stand helped put the Predators and Nashville in the national spotlight.

It was a party that never stopped. And why not?

Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne stood on his head as he faced flurries of Pens attacks. The defending Stanley Cup champions are not going to tuck tail and run. They do have an advantage if the final three games make it a seven-game series.

They have two of a possible three games in the Steel City.

Their team reminds me of the Steelers NFL team. Rugged. No quitting. Taking and giving bruises.

The estimated 50,000 fans that were outside Bridgestone Arena were yelling, “We Want The Cup. We Want The Cup.’’

It’s in their hands. The momentum has swung toward the Predators. They leave town after posting a 9-1 Final record at home games.

It has truly been the best show in Music City.


Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at