'Epic week': Hockey, country music collide in Nashville

Lynette Rowe
June 10, 2017

Game 6 is Sunday in Nashville, where the Predators are 9-1 in the playoffs, including two dominant performances against the Penguins in Games 3 and 4.

The home team has won each of the first five games of the Final for just the 12th time since the National Hockey League went to a best-of-seven series in the final round in 1939, and for the first time since 2011.

They have played extremely well at home in the playoffs, but the defending champion Penguins have a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup again, and they are going to be focused regardless of the fact the Preds will get overwhelming support from their fans. No unsportsmanlike penalty was called and Kessel's goal stood. Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) celebrates his team's 6-0 victory over the Nashville Predators with goalie Matt Murray (30) after Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh. Oh, and don't forget the water bottle toss just moments before Phil Kessel's first goal of the series pushed the lead to 5-0. "Nobody feels good leaving the building playing the way we did". The best thing about my job is when I'm in work for two straight months, like the National Hockey League playoffs, I'm in a room with 20 televisions. Ottawa bounced back to win Game 6 on home ice and force a seventh game.

What Crosby does, rather than what he says, is what counts. That's not almost enough for a player who is on Nashville's top power play unit and entered the Stanley Cup final with 10 points in 16 games.

The Preds came to Pittsburgh's PPG Paints Arena having won Games 3 and 4 at home to tie the series.

"I've never seen anything like this", said John Ettinger, a hockey fan who moved to Nashville from NY, has been to two previous NHL finals, and will attend Sunday's game.

Crosby had three assists in the game, and his decisive play left the Predators on their heels. The post-game questions, however, centred around a brief wrestling match with Predators defenceman P.K. Subban and his toss of a water bottle from the bench. We play 20-something games in the playoffs, I don't think we've had one bad game before (Thursday) night so far, and.it's going to happen.

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"The real hockey starts now", Subban said.

And why would Crosby have any reason to take a liberty on Subban?

Then things got chippy (and a little weird) for the game's best player. Rinne was lifted after allowing three goals on nine shots, while his replacement Juuse Saros surrendered three on 15 shots. The two stars became tangled up behind the Nashville goal late in the first with Crosby on top. Rinne has a 5.41 goals-against average and.766 save percentage in parts of three road games this series. Though he lost defence partner Ryan Ellis in the first couple of minutes of the second period, he didn't lose a step.

"I made a gesture and it came flying out of my hand", Crosby explained.

There was the slick blind backhand pass to Conor Sheary just 1:19 into the second period that made it 4-0.

NBC Sports reported an average of 4.23 million viewers through the first four games of the final, up 24 percent from past year.

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