Preds Try To Solve Penguins' Home Ice Edge In Game 5

The Pittsburgh Penguins jumped out to an early lead with three first-period goals and defeated the Nashville Predators 6-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night.

This was a different Pittsburgh team than we had seen in the series - and that included the wins in Games 1 and 2. And the game was on Washington's home ice.

That's the central question to this series right now. Like Rinne, Murray didn't play as well on the road as at home. The victor goes on to win the Stanley Cup 70 percent of the time. "(Gaudreau's) been unbelievable for us, just the way he's come in and he's been so good with the timely goals and so composed", Predators captain Mike Fisher said of the 24-year-old, who had one assist in nine regular-season National Hockey League games in his career. "We know who we're facing, in their building". From that, when they did get behind us, not only was there a goal by Crosby, but there was a chance, then a second chance, a third chance, sometimes a fourth chance. I know people talk that we are exhausted, but believe me, they are exhausted, too. Predators Coach Peter Laviolette has a policy of not discussing lineup changes and wouldn't say if Wilson will return after missing four games because of a lower-body injury. 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.

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. In Game 1, they scored three times in the last five minutes of the first period en route to a 5-3 victory.

Sullivan said earlier this series that the duo is most effective "when they're playing the game the right way, they're winning puck battles, they're good on the wall, they're stopping on pucks, they're being hard to play against". "We know we're going to have to", Fisher said.

It is 2-0 Pittsburgh less than seven minutes into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville. The Predators' fan base, which chanted, "It's all your fault", after every goal the Penguins allowed, even the empty-net goal in Game 4, beg to differ.

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.

"They're obviously very good when they have the puck", Sullivan said.

Still, Rinne is 0-5 in his career in Pittsburgh. Amazingly, Hainsey got into the action, scoring his first goal since the first round. "Two teams that skate well up and down the ice", Rinne said Wednesday from the team hotel. "We had some high-quality chances". But he does believe they have an advantage with the series down to a best-of-three and two of the games of the road. In 23 games Ward had a 2.14 goals against, making 22-of-23 saves in a Game 7 win against Edmonton.

The Predators are hardly blaming Rinne for their predicament. History tells us winners of Game Five in the Final - when the series is tied 2-2 - have gone on to capture the Cup more than 70 percent of the time.

Zoey Bates, of Toronto, has her face painted with Pittsburgh Penguins colors outside PPG Paints Arena before Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final between the Penguins and the Nashville Predators, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Either way, one thing's for sure.

"Jenn" is Jennifer Bullano Ridgley, the team's senior director of communications, and she was apparently the reason why Kessel was speaking to reporters for the first time since media day on the eve of Game 1.

  • Stacy Allen