Predators tie Stanley Cup Final behind heroic Pekka Rinne play

The Pittsburgh Penguins scored early, often and seemingly at will Thursday night in a 6-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena. "I don't think that necessarily they were bad goals", Laviolette said.

Not long afterward, Crosby took the burden off Pittsburgh's overwhelmed blue line, racing across the ice (while Nashville's Ryan Ellis overpursued the puck) and driving all the way to the net, where he outdid Rinne with patience and a shot off the post that tied the game at one.

For Rinne's best act yet, he stopped a flurry of three shots in a span of three seconds midway through the second period to preserve what was at the time a 2-1 Predators lead.

The Nashville Predators' 23-year-old undrafted center had not scored an National Hockey League goal before the start of the Stanley Cup Final.

Penguins center Nick Bonino is not on the ice for warmups prior to Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Predators and is and out again. Penguins RW Josh Archibald, who made his Final debut in Game 4, was scratched in favor of LW Scott Wilson. "We just have to do a better job in front of him". For now anyway. If the first four games of an unpredictable series have dictated anything, it's that momentum is just one shot away.

Nashville rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the best-of-seven series and the home team has won all five games. Evgeni Malkin scored his 10th and had an assist, while Ron Hainsey also had a goal and an assist.

After a stop-and-start beginning to Game 4, the two sides scored almost in succession. Rinne was replaced to start the second by Saros, who was making only his second appearance of the playoffs.

"We believe that we have some guys that are due to score some goals here", Sullivan said Tuesday.

Rookie goaltender Matthew Murray has been average in the finals, allowing 12 goals in four games.

Rinne denied chance after chance after Crosby's goal, many of them saves that the 6-foot-5 Finn struggled to make in Games 1 and 2 in Pittsburgh. "We know we've got to win one road game and then a home game to boot".

If Rinne remains playing the way he did in Games 3 and 4, it will be hard to imagine the Predators not winning the series. "I came here well-prepared and we just didn't have it tonight".

Malkin finished with two shots as the Penguins ended up being outscored 9-2 in Nashville.

Much ado was made of Crosby's shotless Game 3 and he had the look of a man on a mission in the first period.

Saros relieved Rinne to start the second, but Pittsburgh upped its lead to 4-0 just 1:19 into the period on Sheary's goal from Crosby.

Murray, who entered the game 9-0 in the postseason following a Pittsburgh loss, also allowed a first period rebound goal by Calle Jarnkrok and a breakaway goal to Viktor Arvidsson in the third.

Now, Rinne and the Predators, facing elimination for the first time in the playoffs, will have to win at home on Sunday to extend the series.

To say that the Stanley Cup Final has been a smashing success in Nashville would be an understatement.

"You come here with the mindset that you knew what happened the first two games, but that's not going to change the way I play or prepare", Rinne said. Killing a Pens power play that carried over from the opening period (and featuring some last-minute off-the-skates work from Crosby), the veteran goalie halted shots by Chris Kunitz and postseason darling Jake Guentzel before Gaudreau rushed around the back of Pittsburgh's net to sneak one under Murray's stick.

  • Julie Sanders