Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins scores a goal against Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators during the first period in Game Four of the 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Bridgestone Arena on June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
PLUS: Sidney Crosby gets off the schneid
Sidney Crosby entered Game 4 with seven goals in the playoffs but none since Game 5 against the Ottawa Senators. He also had been held without a goal in the Stanley Cup Final since Game 4 against the Detroit Red Wings in 2009. Both of those droughts came to an end when Crosby took a Brian Dumoulin feed and scored on a breakaway at 15:57 of the first period. The goal gives Crosby two in his past 20 Stanley Cup Final games and four overall in 23 career games in the round. After being held without a shot in Game 3, Crosby registered 4 on Monday.
MINUS: Turnovers result in two Predators goals
The Penguins improved in some aspects of their game on Monday, but they were terrible in terms of giving the puck away. They were credited with 16 giveaways and two of them turned directly into goals for the Predators. The first came when Olli Maatta tried to clear his own zone and threw the puck up the wall into a mash of bodies early in the first period. Predators’ forward Calle Jarnkrok picked up the deflected puck, fed it to Austin Watson, who fired the puck toward the net. Craig Smith tipped it on Matt Murray, who made the save, but Jarnkrok buried the rebound. In the second period, Predators’ captain Mike Fisher beat Evgeni Malkin to the puck at his own blue line. He flipped it forward to Viktor Arvidsson, who beat Patric Hornqvist and Justin Schultz in a foot race, which got him in alone on Murray. He scored to put the Predators up 3-1, effectively sealing the win.
PLUS: Special teams improved, but still need work
The Penguins’ penalty kill had yielded four goals in this series, but they locked things down against the Predators in Game 4. They killed 2 of 2 chances against and did not allow a single shot. On the other side, their own power play didn’t score on two chances, but generated three shots. Those three shots were one less than they produced over their previous 13 chances. If nothing else, it gives them something to build on moving into Game 5.
MINUS: Murray loses back-to-back games for first time in playoffs
Matt Murray had never lost back-to-back games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that changed on Monday. He allowed three goals on 25 shots and saw his record in games following a playoff loss drop to 7-1. He’s now allowed nine goals in two games, which goes down as the worst two-game stretch of his playoff career. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t good at times, since he definitely made some great saves in Game 4. He just wasn’t able to make up for his team’s multiple turnovers or their inability to consistency clear the zone with regularity.