Defensemen help Penguins play fast in Stanley Cup Final

Lynette Rowe
June 11, 2017

The defending champions provided an emphatic reminder of why they're on the cusp of history with a 6-0 demolition of the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-2 lead.

For the first four games of the series - even the two they won - the Penguins struggled to hold onto the puck and drive play, something that changed in a 6-0 blowout in Game 5. The Stanley Cup Final got oddly sidetracked by Subban saying that Crosby accused him of having bad breath.

They got goals from Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel and Ron Hainsey.

"I don't know if anybody shakes off a game like that that quickly", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.

"Still a lot of work to be done, but the way we played (Thursday) night, if we can build off that momentum that's important, but we know we're going to face a desperate team", he said. "I don't know what he was trying to do". The Penguins got more of their forwards involved in the scoring - a necessity from their previous two games - with eight of their 12 forwards notching at least a point. "They doing all the little things, I think, that don't necessarily show up on the score sheet, or you can't necessarily quantify in a statistic, but those little things add up to helping a team win games".

"That is, hands down, the best game that we've played in this series to this point", Sullivan said. Crosby and Subban became tangled up behind the Nashville net late in the first period, with Crosby ended up on top of Subban.

"We know we're no Kris Letangs back here", Schultz said.

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For those Crosby-haters - and there are plenty - demerits for his throwing a water bottle on the ice (unpenalized) to protest a referee's call in the second period and for those extra shoves to bang P.K. Subban's head on the ice.

Malkin ripped a wrist shot over Rinne's glove on the ensuing 4-on-4 to make it 3-0 with just 10 seconds left in the first. Rinne has now been pulled from two of the three losses at Pittsburgh yet stopped all but two of the 52 shots he faced in the two games at Nashville. Backup Juuse Saros didn't fare much better, giving up three goals in relief. Sheary took a pretty feed from Crosby and sent it by Saros 1:19 into the second to push Pittsburgh's lead to four.

Sidney Crosby threw a water bottle on the ice. It doesn't look good for Bonino's chances of playing in Game 6 tomorrow night in Nashville. No unsportsmanlike penalty was called and Kessel's goal stood. "We were really jumping and playing our game, playing fast". Rinne and the Predators are 9-1 at home so far in these playoffs.

Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals topped all of TV on Thursday night.

In the process Crosby moved into a tie for 19th on the all-time list for playoff points and is within one victory of celebrating a third championship with Pittsburgh, something even his Hall of Fame mentor was unable to do.

"Nashville is a hockey town; they are insane about the Preds here", said country artist Darius Rucker, the former frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish. He set a personal standard with five goals in the conference final against Anaheim, which was one more than he had in his first postseason series, 2015 against Chicago.

Crosby's three-assist game marked his 56th multi-point playoff game, tied for fourth most in National Hockey League history. There were some goals in this game. Wilson skated on the fourth line with Frederick Gaudreau and Harry Zolnierczyk.

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