Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

Kristopher Nichols
June 11, 2017

The defending champs won 6-0 on Thursday at PPG Paints Arena, pushing ahead to a 3-2 lead in the series, affording them a chance to clinch their second consecutive Stanley Cup in Nashville on Sunday. The Penguins take a 3-2 series lead as Game 6 is Sunday night in Bridgestone Arena. Nashville Predators' Viktor Arvidsson (38) and Pittsburgh Penguins' Carl Hagelin (62) trade punches during the third period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh is 11-4 SU in its last 15 games against Nashville.

Sidney Crosby led off, with speed, skill, leadership and inspiration: He left nothing behind. He almost scored on a ferocious drive, squeezing past two defenders and ringing a shot off the post as he was being dragged down by Ryan Ellis. "And that's just going to be like (that)".

The Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators are a combined 18-4 on home ice in the 2017 playoffs. With Nashville playing a man short, Schultz's slap shot from the point, on a pass from Crosby, tipped off Calle Jarnkrok's stick and beat Rinne for the game's first goal at 1:31. And for the second time, it's after the first 20 minutes.

The Penguins needed just 91 seconds to get on the scoreboard. His teammates weren't sharing any information either.

But the referees saw the exchange as coincidental minors, That call infuriated Predators' coach Peter Laviolette, who then took a calculated risk and switched to backup goaltender Juuse Saros for the start of the second, after Rinne surrendered three goals on nine shots. He had played great in the back-to-back road losses. A couple lapses, one in each game, making all the difference for a star-studded Penguins team that's as opportunistic as anyone in the league. Sissons was given a match penalty, triggering an automatic review. Twelve different players had a point for the Penguins. The three-time Vezina Trophy finalist allowed eight goals on just 36 shots during the first two games in Pittsburgh. Crosby, Malkin, Phil Kessel and rookie Jake Guentzel are the top four scorers this postseason. "And all of a sudden look at Crosby with a left-handed throw and about 40 seconds later it's a 5-0 game".

Ekholm said the Predators tried to answer nearly too quickly. "That's going to happen".

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"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.

"That is, hands down, the best game that we've played in this series to this point", Sullivan said.

In Game 1, Nashville got down 3-0 to Pittsburgh early.

The best news we could receive from this ass-spanking is that Ryan Ellis isn't actually injured. He also finished a minus-two, the first time he was a minus player since May 14 against the Anaheim Ducks.

Yet somehow, despite those prognostications and obstacles, the Penguins are one win away from their second straight Stanley Cup championship, what would be the third of the Sidney Crosby era.

Thursday night was a tough one for the Nashville Predators. They need him to start leading. "We know we're going to have to", Fisher said. "We've proven that we can and we have in the past, and there's a lot of confidence that we will in a couple days".

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