Penguins on brink of repeat after blowout win

A fired-up Sidney Crosby led his dominant Pittsburgh Penguins to a 6-0 steamrolling of the Nashville Predators in Game 5 to take a 3-2 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday.

The Predators were absolutely abused by the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night in Game 5.

Crosby finished with three assists on the night, with his ridiculous backhand feed setting up Conor Sheary for a second-period tap-in and his secondary assist helping Phil Kessel score to make it 5-0.

On Nashville's side, goalkeeper Pekka Rinne has been a drastically different player at Bridgestone Arena than at PPG Paints Arena. Slipping the puck past him is one of the few ways to anger the 6-5 Finn.

Ron Hainsey avoiding a big hit and carrying the puck from end to end isn't what the Pittsburgh Penguins ask of him or any other defenseman not named Kris Letang. Rinne chopped his stick against a goalpost twice after giving up a fifth and final goal a year ago, when Nashville was ousted from the playoffs.

That was just Game 7 in the second round. Game 6 is Sunday in Nashville.

Rinne, who's so competitive that he doesn't like when teammates score on him in practice, is back in Nashville, where he has been almost unbeatable the last two postseasons at 13-1.

Of course, it all changes if the Predators reclaim their swagger and rally to complete one of the improbable Cup runs in National Hockey League history.

I do think that the next time we see the Penguins in Pittsburgh, they will be hoisting the Stanley Cup. For the first time ever the Stanley Cup will be in the building.

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Instead, Mattias Ekholm was on the ice for four goals, P.K Subban and Matt Irwin were each on for three goals, and Yannick Weber was on for two goals.

"I don't have any details to share with you yet", Laviolette said.

Nashville's blue line is deep, but Ellis has been a productive player with five goals, 13 points and an average of 24:01 in ice time. Losing the two previous games in Nashville gave them something to think about on the trip home. He has no goals in his past six games and one in his past nine. Ellis had a seven-game points streak this post-season.

Yet there's no question that Rinne, who has never won a start in Pittsburgh, will be in net Sunday night.

"Well, I'm not an official", Subban said.

The Predators know exactly what they need to do better against Pittsburgh. "I thought we did a great job of that". We just didn't play well in front of him. He took a P.K. Subban shot off his left foot/ankle in Game 2.

In addition to his three points, Crosby broke between two Nashville defensemen on the opening shift of the game and fired a shot on Rinne. Malkin got into a scrap with Roman Josi. Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino missed his third straight game. He's stopped just 34 of 45 in Pittsburgh during the series. Pre-game coverage begins at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN with a special two-hour edition of NHL Live.

Colin Wilson is expected to play for the Predators after missing the first three games of the series. "And when they do that, they're hard to defend".

Moments earlier, a Predators fan had thrown a catfish on to the ice. "They understand that we haven't accomplished anything to this point and that there's one more game that we have to go out and earn, and I believe that this group has the will and the character to do so".

  • Lawrence Cooper