Kessel, who had gone six games without scoring, broke out with a goal and two assists. So Rinne will need to be at his best to give Nashville a chance at its first Game 7 and Pittsburgh’s third this postseason. 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.
Conor Sheary scored 1:19 into the second period to make it 4-0 over Nashville. Despite playing on the same basic 200 foot ice sheet, the home teams have won every game in this series. He was also chased from the net in Game 2.
After two Predators wins in a row to tie the series, Rinne’s first experience in the Cup Final has become a lot more pleasant. Granted, they’re less likely to outshoot the Predators than the Senators. He gave up two goals in the first 6:43 of the game and it never improved from there as h started the second period on the bench.
In many cases, the last thing a coach or general manager wants is a meddlesome owner getting involved in the day-to-day operations with the hockey team.
“We’ve got to be better in front of him”.
Maybe, but Nashville appeared a step quicker in its home building, pouring in nine goals and handing Penguins goalie Matt Murray the first back-to-back playoff losses of his young career. The Penguins’ only PP goal of the series came in Game 1 on a 5-on-3. They’re looking to come back and re-gain the lead in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup Final series on Thursday evening, doing so as they head back to a position of home ice advantage. The Penguins have come within two games of the first team to capture consecutive Cups in almost two decades due in large part to their resiliency. Pittsburgh’s two goals came 5:12 apart early in Game 5, on the power play from Justin Schultz and at even strength from Bryan Rust.
The Predators outscored the Penguins 9-1 in the past two games. Guentzel’s assist moved him into a tie with Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for the most playoff points by a rookie in National Hockey League history (21). “The pieces are coming together, and I don’t think anyone on this team isn’t feeling comfortable in the way we’re playing right now”.
Add in the fact Sullivan thought the Penguins looked better on the power play in Game 3 than they had previously in the series, and the team will probably have some special teams confidence Thursday night. He stickhandled through that defensive duo and put a shot off of the crossbar behind goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Jake Guentzel also made some history when he picked up his 21st point of the playoffs, equalling Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for the most by a rookie in a single post-season. And if Nashville’s edgy defensemen are able to keep prying at No. 71 and his cohorts, the Final may very well not make it back to PPG Paints Arena after Game 5.
They sure didn’t play that way in the first four games, even though they won the first two.
Everything that followed from that moment on was just window-dressing, preparation for Sunday’s sixth game, when the Stanley Cup will be in the Bridgestone Arena, there for the taking if Pittsburgh can find a way to earn a road victory.
Penguins – RW P. Hornqvist (Questionable Thursday, wrist), C N. Bonino (Questionable Thursday, lower body), RW T. Kuhnhackl (Out indefinitely, lower body), D C. Ruhwedel (Out indefinitely, concussion), K. Letang (Out for season, neck).
“Our motivation is the Cup”, Nashville captain Mike Fisher said. Although it’s said to be “random”, most of the players’ locker stalls were on opposite sides of the visiting locker room from Games 1 and 2. And Murray, for all of his struggles in Nashville, has still played great hockey all year long.