They won the shot battle again 33-28 and kept the Penguins’ lethal power play off the board in three chances.

When Jake Guentzel scored this 13th goal of the playoffs and fourth in three games just 2:43 into the first period, the Predators were on their way to a near-insurmountable 3-0 series deficit. It silenced the crowd, but that didn’t last long.

A struggling Pekka Rinne, 0-7-2 all time against the Penguins with a .778 save percentage in two Final games so far, had the boisterous crowd in his corner and came through with a number of big saves to get to the first intermission.

Roman Josi tied the game 5:51 into the second period and Frederick Gaudreau scored 42 seconds later to send the arena into a frenzy.

Finally, having outshot and outplayed the Penguins in Games 1 and 2 with little to show for it, the Predators’ labor bore fruit.

They won the shot battle again 33-28 and kept the Penguins’ lethal power play off the board in three chances.

In doing so, the Preds improved to 8-1 at home this postseason and, with Game 4 back here Monday, the party isn’t ending in Nashville anytime soon.

Hockey and Nashville right now is like Max Yasgur’s farm: it’s a mass gathering of humanity, though instead of enjoying three days of music, they’re enjoying many days of hockey and music. The only difference is that there is not as much nudity here.

Weber is always ready with a quip, and truth be told he does repeat some of them quite often. However, if the Predators do win the Stanley Cup this month, Weber’s call of the final seconds will come straight from the heart, not from a glib script.

I want to be totally honest with it, explained the 66-year-old Weber. I’ve heard too many scripted calls and it just seems to lack the genuineness that everybody truly wants.

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In facing his greatest challenge, LeBron James learns the limits of his powers

CLEVELAND There was a metaphor for the Cavaliers situation here in the NBA Finals, and it came in the first quarter of Game 3.

It was almost exactly at the midway point of the first quarter, and LeBron James was caught out of position after a Warriors offensive rebound. James scurried out toward the 3-point line to catch up with his defensive assignment just as Cavs big man Tristan Thompson was crossing the lane. Thompson wasn’t looking and didn’t see his hefty shoulder smack straight into James jaw.

They used that to keep Golden State out of striking distance. The Warriors cut the lead to 37-27 before Draymond Green was called for a technical foul (or so we thought), and that’s when Love put the finishing touches on that first-quarter run with a free throw and one more 3-pointer with 1:02 remaining.
Love finished with a team-high 14 points in a dazzling 49-point quarter. Cleveland shot 14 of 22 from the free-throw line and prompted 12 first-quarter fouls from the Warriors.

After that first quarter, they were only up, what, four points? From the second to the fourth, they only beat us by four points the last three quarters, Durant said. So that first quarter they came out and hit us with that amazing punch; 49 points in the first quarter is way too much.

That first quarter had an outside-in effect. From there, Cleveland set a physical tone, which became one of the leading topics of conversation in the postgame.

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