Here are three things to watch as the Predators prepare for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday (8 p.m. ET on WBIR):
Killing them softly: The Penguins' power play had a success rate of 25 percent through three playoff rounds, better than their third-ranked percentage during the regular season. The Predators have eliminated that advantage to start the Stanley Cup Final, killing 12 of 13 Pittsburgh power plays. Within that feat is a more impressive statistic — Nashville has held Pittsburgh to four shots on those 13 power plays in 21:26 of total time, neutralizing a dangerous weapon.
Perfect 10: Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm snapped a personal 42-game drought with a third-period goal Saturday. He reached double digits in scoring on the play, simultaneously placing the Predators in rare company. Nashville is the third team in NHL history to have four defensemen record at least 10 points in the same playoff year, joining the 1984 Edmonton Oilers and 1993 Los Angeles Kings. The Predators have received a league-leading 50 points from their defensemen in 19 postseason games. Roman Josi, who had three points in the second period Saturday, leads the group with six goals and 14 points.
"Z" factor: Predators coach Peter Laviolette reworked his forward lineup Saturday, completely renovating his fourth line. He reinserted forward Harry Zolnierczyk to add more speed, which is the 29-year-old's greatest asset. Zolnierczyk's swift stride drew a holding penalty on Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz in the second period, and the Predators scored on the ensuing power play. Although it's merely a coincidence, the Predators are 8-1 this postseason with Zolnierczyk in the lineup, which is where he will stay.
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