Somehow, the Penguins regrouped and prevailed; and all was right with the world again.
His level in the final has just kept on rising. The Penguins have played the entire postseason without their top defenseman.
These rookies are playing in a league that’s evolving, even if the defense is better as it always is in the postseason.
Pittsburgh scored three goals in a 4:11 stretch at the end of the first period of game one, building a 3-0 lead on the way to a 5-3 win. Pittsburgh appeared to get the key bounces in the first two games of the series as the Preds outshot them in both games in Pittsburgh, but the Penguins took advantage of their scoring opportunities.
“We need to play a better game”, Laviolette said. They didn’t get that many, but still they won those two games.
Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final wasn’t even a minute old when Sidney Crosby put his stamp on it. He had played great in the back-to-back road losses.
To bring this back to the Pittsburgh/Nashville series: After four games, I’m skeptical that Pittsburgh can own the possession game in this matchup. Tonight the Predators enter the confines of PPG Paints Arena, where the Penguins have enjoyed great success these playoffs, including beating the Predators in games 1 and 2 of this series. It forces the offensive and defensive lines to rotate, which can mess with the chemistry of established lines and pairings.
Crosby grabbed a pass with speed and then slashed through the gap between Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi before firing a shot off the left post. Which Rinne shows up for Game 5 may well determine which team returns to Nashville with a 3-2 series lead. The goal was waved off on an earlier offsides. A bettor would have to wager $155 to earn a profit of $100 if the Penguins win the game. “There’s not too many guys who can do that coming right out of the shoot and I think everybody fed off that a bit as far as alright, we’re going to be aggressive and try to go get it”.
For two straight games, the Penguins had struggled, at least on the score sheet.
Not when the Predators have been almost invincible there during these playoffs.
Evgeni Malkin has been quieted by Nashville’s blue line in recent action. Murray, on the other hand, is coming off two consecutive losses and has never lost three in a row since entering the National Hockey League. They also have killed 24 of 25 penalties in the Stanley Cup Final. In Pittsburgh, he let in eight goals on 36 shots for a.778 SV%. On two of the shots that he missed on, could have easily been goals had he placed them just a few inches in any direction. For the next five and a half periods, he was unable to get to him. Losing the two previous games in Nashville gave them something to think about on the trip home.
Peter Laviolette has stayed consistent with these words this postseason that have turned into a rally cry for the Predators locker room.
“I think we’re going to expect their best hockey in their rink”, Predators forward James Neal said. Then in game two, the Penguins broke open a 1-1 game with another three goal flurry over the first 3:28 of the third period.
Justin Schultz has given the Penguins a 1-0 lead on the Predators with a power-play goal just 1:31 into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Of those players, only Miikka Salomaki and PA Parenteau have failed to record a point.
All four of Pittsburgh’s Stanley Cups have been clinched on the road with Chicago the last team to win the Cup on home ice back in 2015. In this series, they have not changed their ways in the slightest. The unit went 0-6 in the two defeats, but generated more in the latter loss. That is insane how lopsided these scores have been.
Midway through the first period of Game 5, the Penguins have six shots to the Predators’ four. Will that trend continue tomorrow night, or will Rinne be able to pull of a performance for the ages to break the streak?