Chris Kreider’s second goal of the playoffs was the back-breaker for the Senators. The pesky power forward struggled in the first round against the Canadiens but now has two goals in three games as the Rangers surge back.
Game 5: Predators at Blues, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN (Predators lead series 3-1) Nashville is one win from its first Western Conference finals in franchise history. If St. Louis is to live to fight another day, it will have to find a way to get pucks past Pekka Rinne, whose .953 save percentage leads all playoff goalies.
Nashville never before has come so close to the Stanley Cup in nine previous postseason tries. This one has the feel of a team of destiny after sneaking in and pulling off a sweep of the top-seeded Blackhawks in the first round. In winning a war of attrition with the Blues, it’s clear there isn’t a contender remaining playing more complete hockey at this juncture, from the top line down to the bottom defense pair.
And Rinne. The 34-year-old is putting up stellar numbers 1.37 goals-against average, .951 save percentage to lead all playoff goalies. Rinne made 23 saves and assisted on Calle Jarnkrok’s empty-net goal that sealed Game 6, the netminder’s third point of the playoffs.
The three points place Rinne in a tie for 98th among playoff scorers, more than forwards such as the much-maligned Jordan Eberle, who still has just two points in 12 games despite the Oilers putting up a touchdown on the Ducks during a 7-1 blowout in Game 6.
Eberle may soon meet Rinne should Edmonton finish the job in Wednesday’s Game 7.
In that scenario would come the inevitable mercy for one of the two long-suffering franchises at long last.