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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Frederick Gaudreau sure is doing his best to earn his own locker with the Nashville Predators with a Stanley Cup Final debut for the ages.
For now, he insists he is happy enough just to sit on the floor as long as he plays.
An undrafted free agent playing in just his sixth postseason game, Gaudreau scored the go-ahead goal 3:45 into the second period and Pekka Rinne made 23 often-spectacular saves as the Predators beat the Penguins 4-1 on Monday night to even the series at 2-2.
It's now a best-of-three sprint to the Stanley Cup, and Nashville is riding a wave of momentum after outscoring the defending champions 9-2 in the Games 3 and 4 of their Final debut.
Game 5 is Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
Gaudreau, a 24-year-old rookie, only has a chair in the locker room, but he now is the second player in NHL history to score his first three career goals in a Stanley Cup Final, joining Johnny Harms with the 1944 Blackhawks.
Gaudreau is also just the third rookie to score game-winning goals in consecutive games in the Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took over sole possession of the trophy in 1926-27. Pittsburgh's Jake Guentzel did it in the first two games of this series and Roy Conacher did it for Boston in Games 3, 4 and 5 against Toronto in 1939.
"We were in a tough hole against a really good team, came home and took care of the home games with the help of all our great fans," Rinne said. "It's a great feeling. We played two really good games."
Monday, May 29: Pittsburgh 5, Nashville 3
Wednesday, May 31: Pittsburgh 4, Nashville 1
Saturday, June 3: Nashville 5, Pittsburgh 1
Monday, June 5: Nashville 4, Pittsburgh 1
Thursday, June 8: Nashville at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.
Sunday, June 11: Pittsburgh at Nashville, 8 p.m.
x-Wednesday, June 14: Nashville at Pittsburgh, 8 p.m.