NASHVILLE — Frederick Gaudreau is making a quick impression on his Nashville Predators teammates, and in turn, becoming the new rookie to watch in the Stanley Cup Final.
Getting your turn in the spotlight only seems fair when you consider the fact that Gaudreau is only the second player to score his first three career goals in a Stanley Cup Final, joining John Harms’ run in 1944. He now has consecutive game-winning goals as the Predators tied things up 2-2 with the Pittsburgh Penguins via a 4-1 win.
As rare as this might be, his teammates and coach firmly believe that his rare run is well-earned.
“When you start the way he did, having to work for everything — literally, every contract and every opportunity to prove yourself. And at this level, it’s no different. That’s on him,” Peter Laviolette said.
“That speaks to Freddie, to be honest with you. To be able to take the road that he has, and come out on the end and be a contributing player in the Stanley Cup Final.”
As impressed as the Predators have been by those impressive goals, his work ethic is what really speaks to his teammates.
“I know everybody will talk about his back-to-back game-winners, but he does all those little things,” P.K. Subban said. “He deserves to be playing and to be in the position he’s in right now.”
Subban emphasized Gaudreau’s hard work, especially in being thrust into a challenging role in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals. The Anaheim Ducks had been dominating in draws, and it wasn’t lost on Subban that Gaudreau managed to go 10-4 in the faceoff circle in that contest.
While Gaudreau hasn’t been quite as sturdy in that area since, he’s managed that remarkable three-goal run despite paltry ice time. He’s averaging less than 12 minutes per night so far and only logged 9:06 in Game 4.
The 24-year-old is making the most of his opportunities in just about every sense, and at times, the Stanley Cup Final feels almost like a duel between Gaudreau and Jake Guentzel.
The scene shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 5, airing on NBC at 8 p.m. ET. on Thursday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.