GAME 4

BRIDGE­STONE ARENA JUNE 5, 2017

The Hockey News - - The First Word -

SO PREDA­TORS FIRST-LINE cen­ter Ryan Johansen gets hurt and spends the day of Game 4 as Nashville’s Hon­orary Mayor. Mean­while, the un­der­stud­ies go out and win. The Preda­tors, win­ners of two straight, sud­denly found them­selves within two wins of hoist­ing the Stan­ley Cup, which would be in their house for Game 6 re­gard­less of who won Game 5. And they did it with a cen­ter corps con­sist­ing of: Mike Fisher, who turned 37 the day of Game 4; Fred­er­ick Gau­dreau, a castoff who was never drafted; Calle Jarnkrok, who was ac­quired for David Leg­wand; and, Colton Sis­sons, who has av­er­aged one goal ev­ery 8.4 games for his ca­reer. “Re­ally, it’s the way we play as a team,” Fisher said. “Who­ever is in there, if we play a cer­tain way, we know we can be suc­cess­ful. We have to con­tinue to get better in this series, be­cause we know it’s not get­ting any eas­ier. There’s no ques­tion we have to, as the cen­ter group, be even better. We know who we’re fac­ing.” Gau­dreau’s goal in Game 4, his third of the series, was the win­ner. At the be­gin­ning of the series, it would’ve been out­landish to ex­pect this rag-tag group of piv­ots to get the better of Sid­ney Crosby and Ev­geni Malkin. If you had pre­dicted be­fore the series the Pen­guins de­fense corps would be ex­posed, well, that’s ex­actly what hap­pened in Games 3 and 4. “They’re not per­fect by any stretch,” said coach Mike Sul­li­van. “But these guys are com­pet­ing. I be­lieve they’re do­ing their very best to help us at both ends of the rink.” Sul­li­van also called his group of de­fense­men “a sim­ple bunch.” Not ex­actly a ring­ing en­dorse­ment. The sim­ple bunch needed a sim­ple plan to be a lot better, lest the de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons lose their grip on the Stan­ley Cup.

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