NBC Sports Group continued its coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final tonight on NBC, with the Nashville Predators hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 from Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. The Predators won Game 4 by a score of 4-1 to even the series at two games apiece. Pekka Rinne stopped 23 of 24 shots, and 12 different Nashville skaters registered a point.
Game 5 is scheduled for Thursday night in Pittsburgh, Pa., at 8 p.m. ET on NBC, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Five-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire called Game 4 tonight from Nashville. This marks the 11th consecutive year that Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have combined to call the Stanley Cup Final for NBC Sports Group.
NBC Sports Group’s star-studded pre-game and intermission coverage included interviews and segments with Wayne Gretzky, Charles Barkley, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico and David Feherty; Pittsburgh’s RW Phil Kessel, D Ron Hainsey, and play-by-play voice Mike Lange; and Nashville’s Austin Watson and play-by-play voice Pete Weber.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Live. Kathryn Tappen and Paul Burmeister anchored pre-game coverage alongside analysts Jeremy Roenick, Anson Carter and Brian Boucher on-site outside of Bridgestone Arena. Coverage shifted inside at 7:30 p.m. ET with host Liam McHugh and analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones.
Milbury on Rinne: “That was a totally different Pekka Rinne (post-game) interview with Pierre (McGuire) compared to Brian Boucher after Game 3. After Game 3, there was a sense of relief. This (interview) showed a kind of return of self-confidence and ability that can make a series different.”
Jones on Rinne: “It’s like when a goal-scorer scores a goal and the next game he’s a different player. He was a different player in this game. He was a difference-maker.”
Milbury on Sidney Crosby: “Of all of the stars on the Pittsburgh Penguins, this was the guy that really showed up. I didn’t think Malkin or Kessel had particularly good evenings, but Crosby was visible, had some great opportunities and made some things happen.”
Milbury on Nashville’s Frederick Gaudreau, who has scored his first three career NHL goals in the Final: “This is the kind of player that Peter Laviolette will take a risk on. If he sees somebody that is giving him good effort, good in the faceoff circle, and really competes, he’s going to give it a try. He’s bold enough to do that, and right now, it’s paying serious dividends.”
Emrick: “It’s a best of three.”
Emrick on Nashville’s two home wins to tie the series: “The NHL is 100 years old. The adage is probably as old as it – ‘You’re never in trouble until you lose a home game.’”
Olczyk on Filip Forsberg’s empty-net goal, 4-1 Predators: “Subban to Ekholm to Forsberg – from about 197 feet.”
McGuire on Nashville coaching in third period: “What a job by Peter Laviolette, Kevin McCarthy, and Phil Housley. They reeled their team in, and they’ve been really surgical in terms of their approach here in the third period.”
Olczyk on remainder of series: “As we move forward, there’s going to be lots of rest between games. The coaches certainly know that and will be able to play their big guys a lot more.”
Barkley on the Stanley Cup Playoffs: “The NBA Playoffs have not been great, but the Stanley Cup Playoffs have been amazing…being at a Stanley Cup Playoff game is incredible.”
Barkley on the atmosphere in Nashville: “JR (Jeremy Roenick) told me I’ve got to come to a game in Nashville. It’s unbelievable. The crowd is amazing…I was telling Mike (Milbury), Chicago Stadium, when the Bulls were in their heyday, was incredible. This is amazing.”
Barkley on NHL goalies: “These goalies – their flexibility always amazes me. I see them make a save – I pull a groin sitting in the stands.”
Olczyk on the Viktor Arvidsson breakaway goal, 3-1 Predators: “Two great plays lead to this breakaway – the play by James Neal and the play by Mike Fisher.”
McGuire on Arvidsson goal, which beat Murray on glove his side: “They’ve gone to school on Matt Murray. Think back to Game 3 where some of the goals went.”
Olczyk on process of league stopping play, reviewing Frederick Gaudreau wrap-around, and ruling good goal, 2-1 Predators: “Something that the National Hockey League has implemented over the course of the last couple of years is that the Situation Room (in Toronto) – if they see that puck cross that line, they have the ability, as they did, to notify the scorekeeper to blow that horn. You’d be in a situation where if we went three, four, five minutes of play, you’d have to rewind the clock to get back to where it was. An assist to the National Hockey League for implementing that in the last couple of years, to stop play when you know that that goal has crossed the goal line.”
McGuire: “Gaudreau is becoming a scoring sensation for a player that was never drafted.”
Emrick: “Gaudreau with a historic Cup Final.”
Jones on Crosby’s goal: “Not much can silence the crowd in Nashville – Crosby quieted it a little bit.
Underwood comparing her nerves watching husband and Preds captain Mike Fisher vs. her own performances: “There’s something about hockey and about watching him out there just giving his all…I’m way more nervous for him than I would ever be for myself.”
Underwood on singing “All I Do Is Win” after Game 3: “That’s our win song, that’s what we play when the Preds win…I just turn the camera on, and I’m not afraid to be stupid and act silly.”
Milbury: “Join the club.”
McGuire on Nashville’s Filip Forsberg, no goals in the series to this point: “He had 31 goals in the regular season, but the biggest thing in this series, no goals for Filip Forsberg. Does it run through your mind at all?”
Olczyk: “On this stage, it absolutely would. He’s got eight goals so far in the playoffs…but he’s probably just over-thinking it. All it takes is one, because a guy like Forsberg, if he gets one, he’s going to get two. You just can’t think. You’ve got to fire it at the net.”
Olczyk on Crosby goal, 1-1: “Ryan Ellis has to recognize that his partner is up ice…you can’t start drifting when your partner is all the way up ice.”
McGuire on Sidney Crosby goal, 1-1: “That’s the one thing that can burn you with over-aggressive defensemen. Sometimes they don’t come back and sense danger.”
McGuire on Calle Jarnkrok goal, 1-0 Predators: “The best line Nashville had in Game 3 was Calle Jarnkrok, Craig Smith, and Austin Watson. They’ve jumped on it early here in Game 4.”
NHL Live on NBCSN (6-8 p.m. ET)
Jones on Pittsburgh’s power play, 1-13 in the Final through Games 1-3: “Watch for Kessel on the power play. He’s going to have that shooter’s mentality…the messages have been sent to that power play.”
Milbury on Predators D Mattias Ekholm: “The guy that has stood out to me is Mattias Ekholm…he’s going to play it tough, he’s done it with everybody in this series. He’s not the sweet Swede…he’s been more a Viking.”
Gretzky on Bridgestone Arena: “Looking at this arena reminds me a little bit of the old Boston Garden, with all of the yellow and the gold, and you used to be on top of the ice. This is an exciting time for the NHL.”
Tirico on Nashville’s reaction to the Predators’ run: “This is a college atmosphere for pro sports…and this city has seen a championship-level team. The Titans got within this much of winning a Super Bowl…what a one of-a-kind setting. It’s great for the NHL to have a team that America can get excited about and take on the champs.”
Boucher on Nashville’s physicality: “In past series, the Predators have had to play physically against St. Louis and has played physically against Anaheim…I think being physical against the best players for the Pittsburgh Penguins is a recipe for success. The major key for Nashville going forward is making sure the discipline is there.”
Roenick on Predators D Mattias Ekholm: “Where has he come from? Prior to this year, he was really quiet, when Weber was here and when Jones was here – he kind of just sat back. This year, he has brought it to a level that I don’t think any of us knew he had.”
Carter: “P.K. Subban has a lot to do with that. When you’re playing with P.K. Subban, it’s hard to be quiet, because he’s going to bring that out of you. It’s almost like playing against an agitator. You’re playing with an agitator and he’s going to bring you into the fight. P.K. Subban forces you to elevate your game, because the spotlight is going to be on your defensive pair all night long.”