PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – The Stanley Cup Final heads to Nashville and a wild crowd awaits, but could it change the way the series is going?
NHL on NBC Analyst Keith Jones joined Cook and Poni on Friday to discuss just that and preview Game 3.
“I do think the Predators will respond,” Jones said. “I think because of the energy of that crowd…it heavily favors the Predators in this situation.”
Maybe Jones feels that way because the Predators are 7-1 at home during this playoff run.
He said that at this time of year, players will feed off the energy of the crowd and the reaction will also even help certain calls to go their way.
As a player, Jones said that when he stepped on the home ice during a playoff game the atmosphere would drive you to a different level. He added that he feels the home crowd at PPG Paints Arena stepped up in the early moments of the third period in Game 2 that led to a 4-1 Pens win.
There is no doubt that the Pens will face a hard task dealing with that crowd, but they have had their way with Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. Jones said he expects to see him in net the rest of the way.
“Not a single doubt that Rinne will be in net,” Jones said. “He is their guy.”
He only thinks that Coach Peter Laviolette is playing games by not naming a starter yet for Game 3 and maybe he is giving Rinne something to thin about to take his mind off of his past poor numbers against the Penguins.
Rinne has never beaten the Pens as a starter (1-6-2) and the single win came in relief.
Jones added that there needs to be other lineup changes for Nashville in Game 3, but it wont be in goal.
He also thinks that the Preds will find a way to get this series back to Pittsburgh even.
“”It will be coming back to Pittsburgh…It won’t be a sweep,” Jones said “Your Game 5 tickets will be worth something.”