Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

Hope Soto
June 10, 2017

He allowed three goals on nine shots before Laviolette parked him on the bench at the start of the second period. Crosby then slammed Subban's head into the ice about eight times.

Whether it was Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Phil Kessel, the Penguins' best players were their best players.

Facing elimination in game six, the Predators defenseman insisted his team will play better in Nashville. Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby reached 20 career points in Stanley Cup Final games, moving one ahead of Mario Lemieux for the club record. I don't even know what he did, P.K. The goal by Hainsey in the second came off of an odd man rush that he created. It didn't work. Saros gave up a goal on the first shot he faced. He was especially locked in during Game 4 when the Penguins dialled up their attack.

The guy that scored the victor in Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final doesn't even have a locker in the Nashville Predators' dressing room. He had played 12 consecutive Stanley Cup Final games without a goal before snapping that drought on a nifty breakaway in the first period.

Crosby also showed ferocity in the opening period when he got tangled up with Nashville's P.K. Subban during a scrum.

Crosby couldn't recall specifics, but thought he was reacting in response to a penalty that went uncalled.

The sad part is the singling out of a player who hasn't scored in a stretch, as was the case with Kessel.

The series is tied 2-2. Five of the seven closed it out in Game 6. Kessel ended a six-game goal drought 8:02 into the second. Some of his skills have diminished with time, and his chase for his fourth Stanley Cup is all heart and guts.

There was the slick blind backhand pass to Conor Sheary just 1:19 into the second period that made it 4-0. Rinne was replaced to start the second by Saros, who was making only his second appearance of the playoffs. That includes the Penguins, who beat the Ottawa Senators 7-0 in Game 5 of the last round only to lose Game 6 on the road. He finished with three points after registering only an assist in the first four games. They'd go on to hammer the Predators, 6-0. "We did a better job of managing the game that way in Games 3 and 4".

Matt Murray - It wasn't a hard night for him, but the Penguins goaltender did stop all 24 shots that he faced in a 6-0 Game Five win. It did, and Pittsburgh won Game 7. The Predators, for one thing, have beaten the Penguins twice in the past week, and had been the better team for much of the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final.

It was a nasty Game 5, in an increasingly nasty series.

Asked about being so close to lifting the Cup again, Crosby quickly reverted to form. Pittsburgh is averaging 3.0 goals per game in the playoffs, the same as the Predators.

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Justin Schultz opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 1:31 into the game.

When a defending player shoots or throws a stick or any other object at the puck or the puck carrier in the defending zone but does not interfere in any manner with the puck or puck carrier, a minor penalty shall be assessed.

For starters, his throw should have led to a penalty which would have negated the Penguins' fifth goal of the night.

Nashville, at least, can take solace in this.

If Ellis can not play, the Predators would have to rely on either Matt Irwin or Yannick Weber for more minutes. That team came back to win the next game. Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino missed his third straight game.

Head coach Mike Sullivan confirmed the decision following an optional morning skate on Thursday morning.

At that point the Predators should have been given a power play in a 4-0 deficit. Murray's consecutive losses at Bridgestone Arena were the first of his 30-game National Hockey League playoff career. Murray, on the other hand, is coming off two consecutive losses and has never lost three in a row since entering the National Hockey League.

Game 6 will be played Sunday night in Nashville, where the Penguins will try to be the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. So, good for Pittsburgh. "We know how to move on", Rust said. "I think we're just trying to prepare for that one game ahead of us, and we're hopeful that we'll put our best game on the ice".

The Preds defense looked atrocious to start the game and the Penguins took advantage. They also have a 123-91 shot lead in the Cup Final.

That was just five seconds into the game but set the tone for the Penguins 6-0 demolition of the Predators, with Crosby leading charge. Colin Wilson was back in the lineup Thursday but was a non-factor (one shot attempt, no hits, no blocked shot, no takeaways) in 11:29 of ice time. A different injury than the one he's now battling kept Wilson out of the entire first-round sweep of Chicago. Bonino has been sidelined for two games with a left foot injury that he sustained while blocking a shot in Game 2.

The series was tied 2-2.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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