Penguins thrash Predators, take control of Stanley Cup Final


The Penguins overwhelmed Rinne again, sending Nashville's star goaltender to the bench in Pittsburgh for a second straight game in the Stanley Cup Final.

Crosby also showed ferocity in the opening period when he got tangled up with Nashville's P.K. Subban during a scrum. Even Ron Hainsey chipped in with a goal.

The Predators outscored the Penguins 9-1 in the past two games.

The junkyard dog approach to hockey for the Stanley Cup Final debutants has a history: It is the Predators' on-ice version of Stanley, the blue mutt with a bone clenched between his teeth. Somehow, the Penguins regrouped and prevailed; and all was right with the world again.

Sidney Crosby came alive in Game 5, with three assists on the night. Fleury got the Penguins through the first two rounds, then was replaced by Murray at the first sign of faltering against the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference final.

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Crosby looked to be upset that there wasn't a penalty called on Nashville and sent a water bottle flying. "But there's a long way to go still", said Kessel.

Crosby chatted with an official from the bench, appearing to indicate he didn't mean to throw the bottle.

Nashville rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the best-of-seven series and the home team has won all five games. Game 6 is Sunday at Nashville on the city's busiest tourism week with the CMA Music Festival in town. The Predators goalie, who gave up only two goals in two games in Nashville, gave up two goals in his first six minutes.

Those three had enough success to earn an unofficial name - the Sid and the Kids Line - before a goal drought and seeming slip in confidence moved Sheary down the lineup in the playoffs, and even out of the lineup for three games. The Predators still have to win at least one game at PPG Paints Arena and they failed to do that despite outplaying the Penguins substantially in Games 1 and 2.

Rinne was lifted after allowing three goals on nine shots, while his replacement Juuse Saros surrendered three on 15 shots. "In the last two games, we needed to shoot the puck more". They lead the Predators 3-0 after 20 minutes. Its not a coincidence theyre the last two teams standing, both two wins away from a championship. At this point the only thing that seems certain for the Pittsburgh Penguins is that the Predators are going to put up a fight against whomever starts in net tonight.

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But Pittsburgh's 6-0 win in Game 5 was the second true blowout of the series and the fourth decided by three or more goals. That didn't help much as Saros allowed two more goals in the first 8:02. In 23 games Ward had a 2.14 goals against, making 22-of-23 saves in a Game 7 win against Edmonton.

Midway through the first period of Game 5, the Penguins have six shots to the Predators' four. It's his seventh goal of the playoffs. He also assisted goal No. 3 of the night for his first multi-point game since February.

In Game 1, Nashville became the first team to hold an opponent without a shot on goal in a period of a Final game since the National Hockey League started tracking that statistic in 1957, and that drought lasted 37 minutes even though Pittsburgh pulled out a 5-3 win.

To his point, three missed the net, another three were blocked and only two found their way to Pekka Rinne - both of which were stopped. The catfish have become the unofficial mascot of the series as Nashville fans have taken to throwing it like Detroit Red Wings fans with octopi. Heck, their worst players were better than the Predators' so-called best.

When Hainsey, who waited 907 regular-season games before reaching the playoffs for the first time this season, tapped in a pass from Malkin to make it 6-0, the stage was set for the Penguins to return to familiar territory.

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Have you heard how great the atmosphere is in Nashville for Predators games?