Crosby scores, Malkin shoots yet Penguins lose 4-1 to Preds

Pittsburgh Penguins Jake Guentzel right watches as a puck slides past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne of Finland Colton Sissons and Ryan Ellis left during the first period in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley

Nashville's Calle Jarnkrok was the first to get the puck past Matt Murray, scoring 5:09 into the first period.

Just 66 seconds later, Crosby tied it up for Pittsburgh on a dazzling breakaway. It was his first goal in the Final since 2009, but it wasn't almost enough. A quick video review confirmed that the puck did cross the line. He had lost his stick and was just trying to hold me down. The goal was his first in the Stanley Cup Final since June 4, 2009, a span of 12 games. The Penguins have come within two games of the first team to capture consecutive Cups in almost two decades due in large part to their resiliency. In obvious pain, Subban left the ice, but he returned.

Calle Jarnkrok, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg also scored for Nashville, which improved to 9-1 at home and roared back after dropping the first two games of the series on the road.

NOTES: Matt Murray finished with 24 saves.

Sidney Crosby scored his first goal in this Stanley Cup Final, but the Predators beat Pittsburgh 4-1 on Monday night to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Rinne stopped 50 of 52 shots he faced back home in Games 3 and 4. Near the end of the first period, Crosby got mixed up behind the net with Subban.

Nashville is outshooting Pittsburgh 15-14 so far. Pittsburgh lost a challenge for goalie interference.

What began as a two-month slog to the Cup is now a three-game dash, one that appears to be a coin flip. They got more, just not almost enough against Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators.

"We had a great start", said Crosby.

"I know people talk about how we're exhausted, but believe me, they're exhausted too", Pittsburgh forward Evgeni Malkin said. It was the first playoff goal for Arvidsson since Game 4 of the first round, and it put Nashville up 3-1. Pittsburgh leads Nashville 7-6 in total shots in what was a tight first period. He has 57 goals and 104 assists, for a total of 161 points.

The lead didn't last long.

Crosby had another breakaway almost midway through the period, and Rinne stopped him not once, but twice. No goal there, but the Penguins would score moments later on the resulting power play.

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From there, Rinne, who has picked up his play after allowing a combined eight goals in the first two games of the series, stymied the Penguins attack, while Forsberg sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the game's closing minutes. It was Crosby's first goal of the series. "Guys have to step up", Predators coach Peter Laviolette told reporters. He asked them before the game not to throw anything onto the ice. Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino missed his second consecutive contest with a foot injury.

The Penguins now have lost two straight for the second time this postseason.

The Pittsburgh Penguins' center skated briefly with his teammates before Game 4 in warm-ups.

But in Nashville, nothing went the Penguins' way - in stark contrast from Games 1 and 2.

"I heard it on the bench that it was possibly in the net", Gaudreau said. Murray is attempting to accomplish the unprecedented feat of winning the Stanley Cup twice as a rookie.

Barkley interrupted Wayne Gretzky and Paul Coffey talking about National Hockey League fans voting for the best team of all-time.

Crosby said the next game is key. James Neal started the play, getting the puck to Fisher who fed the puck up to Arvidsson while falling to the ice.

"The real hockey starts now", Subban said.

And he calls Stanley Cup overtime hockey the craziest thing anyone will ever see, just one reason why he loves the sport. It will be up to Predators defensemen P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm to keep them quiet.

"If I make the save there, it could be a different game", Murray said. "You're in the Cup final, this is what it's all about". Pittsburgh will have a chance to become the first franchise to win back-to-back championships since Detroit in 1998 when the series shifts back to Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday night. The exchange ended with both players heading to the dressing room with minor penalties.

Each starting goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final has experienced a two-game hiccup. Enough people turned out to fill up Broadway for three blocks with three giant TV screens, even with Nashville opening up a downtown amphitheater for fans to watch.

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