Penguins demolish Predators in Game 5 blowout win

Doug Mendoza
June 9, 2017

Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne withstood that barrage, but Nashville must eliminate those opportunities.

The Predators are hardly blaming Rinne for their predicament.

It was that dominant on Thursday night, that certain, that overwhelming, really, in a 6-0 demolition of the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup final. "They capitalized. We did a better job of managing the game that way in Games 3 and 4".

Six different Penguins found the net as the home team seized a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series, which shifts back to Nashville on Sunday.

Or, as the eminently quotable Malkin put it, "We have good feeling, and we go to Nashville to win". 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.

The 6-0 score tied for the seventh-biggest blowout in Stanley Cup Final history.

"Understand that we're going to play a desperate team", said Penguins captain Sidney Crosby after collecting three assists. Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary also scored for the Penguins, who have outscored Nashville 15-4 in Pittsburgh.

It was a familiar showing for Rinne.

Matt Murray has given up eight goals in the last two games of the Stanley Cup Finals. That didn't help much as Saros allowed two more goals in the first 8:02.

How many thought the Anaheim Ducks were going to rebound after losses to the Edmonton Oilers in Games 5 and 6, including a 7-1 drubbing in the latter, to take Game 7 in the second-round series?

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The Penguins were clearly fired up in front of the home crowd.

Rinne insisted his confidence isn't shaken though he was disappointed with Thursday's result. Rinne's first two games were abysmal as regression arrived unannounced.

"I think just like everybody". But that has changed a bit in the postseason, with Maatta scoring two goals and dishing out five assists in 23 playoff games.

About the only thing that went wrong for the Penguins was Crosby's feeble left-handed water bottle toss in the second period to protest a slashing attempt by Predators blueliner Mattias Ekholm on Pittsburgh forward Chris Kunitz. He gave up three goals on nine shots and was replaced by Juuse Saros. Kessel scored his first in six games, making it 5-0 later in the period, while Hainsey capped Pittsburgh's second three-goal period of the game.

NOTES: Crosby now has 20 career points in the Stanley Cup Final, a new franchise record and one more than team owner Mario Lemieux.

Evgeni Malkin was right and the rout is on: The Penguins lead the Predators 5-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final after a second-period goal by Phil Kessel.

Many hockey fans were (rightfully) anxious about the change in the crowd atmosphere before Game 5 after two loud and fun games in Nashville, but some traditions, like the catfish, made their way back to Pittsburgh.

Predators head coach Peter Laviolette saw things rather differently.

For two straight games, the Penguins had struggled, at least on the score sheet.

This was hardly the dine-and-dash assault levied by the Penguins in Games 1-2, when they twice blitzed their visitors for three goals in four-minute spans, but something more sustainable, fiercer.

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