Murray to start in goal for Penguins in Game 5

They wasted no time making up for it in Game 5, putting three goals on the board in the first period alone.

Pittsburgh is threatening to turn Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final into a rout.

Crosby had another breakaway almost midway through the period, and Rinne stopped him not once, but twice. Rinne has a 5.41 goals-against average and.766 save percentage in parts of three road games this series.

Whatever the cause - the schedule, the salary cap, the weariness associated with the Stanley Cup hangover - no National Hockey League team since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings has followed up a championship year with a title defence. They lead the Predators 3-0 after 20 minutes. "Nothing's done yet and we've got a lot of work ahead of ourselves".

The Penguins have the highest team shooting percentage (9.6%) during the playoffs. Sidney Crosby, who was particularly strong early in the game, had three assists. He stickhandled through that defensive duo and put a shot off of the crossbar behind goaltender Pekka Rinne.

"I think just play him hard", said Nashville defenceman Roman Josi. In Game 3, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin were held without a shot on goal in the same playoff game for the first time in their careers.

Nashville scored three times in the second period of Game 1 to even things up before losing 5-3. 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. After letting in only two goals in an overtime loss in Game 1, and shutting out the Sens to win Game 2, Fleury seemed to be staying the course.

Midway through the first period of Game 5, the Penguins have six shots to the Predators' four. Nine of the 24 total goals have come from first-year players.

"Right now our backs are against the wall, and this is our opportunity and I think you try to do anything in your power and prepare the best you can for this one", Rinne said.

Schultz's shot from the point went through the legs of Nashville forward Auston Wilson and goaltender Pekka Rinne.

The Predators top-pairing defenceman, who has five goals and 13 points in the playoffs, left the ice after his second shift in the period and did not return for the rest of the game.

But what if Nashville's Big Four defensively becomes a Big Three?

Not that the Penguins gave them much of a chance.

Those are conversations Crosby will share with his teammates in private moments before Game 6 on Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena.

The Penguins are on the precipice of history, one victory shy of becoming the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in 19 years.

On the Pittsburgh injury front, center Nick Bonino (ankle) sat out for the third straight game after getting drilled by a P.K. Subban slapshot in Game Two. "I don't know what he was trying to do". Maybe nothing more than coincidence, said Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan. "To be able to take the road that he has, come out on the end, be a contributing player in the Stanley Cup Finals".

He popped for two assists in a series-opening win, set up the lone goal in Game 3 and scored the only goal himself in Game 4. So, have to back the Preds here and predict we'll have a game seven later in the week.

"You're playing in the finals, the biggest stage in your career, and you're not happy obviously", Rinne said.

Coach Peter Laviolette said he's had to balance the desire to have Wilson in the lineup with the need to make sure he was healthy enough to impact the game.

"We lost the game 6-0, so I don't think anyone is happy", he said.

This has not been the most grueling of Cup Final schedules. The Predators goalie, who gave up only two goals in two games in Nashville, gave up two goals in his first six minutes.

  • Julie Sanders