Penguins regroup, Predators look for road magic in Game 5

Penguins regroup, Predators look for road magic in Game 5

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Chad Ruhwedel (2) falls over goalie Matt Murray during the periodagainst the Nashville Predators in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final Monday, June 5, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn.

It was the summer of 2014 - June 27 to be exact - when the Nashville Predators and Pittsburgh Penguins finalized a deal that three years later would still be playing out in the Stanley Cup Final.

Sullivan confirmed Thursday what was widely expected among Penguins fans: Murray will be his starting goaltender for Game 5 against the Predators at PPG Paints Arena.

Colin Wilson could be back in the Nashville Predators' lineup for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Preds defense looked atrocious to start the game and the Penguins took advantage. "I think when our team plays that way, we're at our very best". "But all-in-all, I thought I played pretty good". "They capitalized. We did a better job of managing the game that way in Games 3 and 4".

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Pittsburgh went up 2-0 up five minutes later on a goal by Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin netted a backbreaker with 11 seconds remaining in the first period. And Murray, for all of his struggles in Nashville, has still played great hockey all year long.

No matter how the ice has tilted one way or another, this Final has earned some extra attention for the Nashville hockey effect with catfish and country music artists, from surprise anthem singers to Carrie Underwood, the wife of Predators captain Mike Fisher. In all five games of this series, the home team has emerged victorious - and for Pittsburgh, the win snapped a two-game losing streak which had appeared to tip the momentum in the series in favour of the underdog Predators.

Back in April, before the Stanley Cup playoffs started, two current National Hockey League players told me each believed the Pittsburgh Penguins were the best team in the tournament, but likely would not win the title. Or can the Predators build off dominant efforts in games three and four and break through on the road.

The home side added three more scores in the second where Phil Kessel notched his first goal of the Finals, with Conor Sheary and Ron Hainsey adding to the Penguins' tally.

Juuse Saros came on in relief of Rinne to start the 2nd, but he didn't fare much better.

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"It's disappointing, for sure", Rinne said. Now it's time for leadership to show in big games. "We know we've got to win one road game and then a home game to boot".

It was a familiar showing for Rinne. In particular, the Penguins need more from Kessel, who had 10 goals and 12 assists over 24 games in the Penguins' run to the Cup in 2016 and who had seven goals and 12 assists through the first three rounds of these playoffs. When red hot Kevin Fiala went down in Game 1 of the second round against the Blues with a fractured femur, the next man up filled his shoes. After allowing just two goals in 119:25 of ice time during wins in Games 3 and 4 at home, Rinne allowed three in the first 6:43 of Game 5 on the road and another late when Malkin beat him. We had a clincher past year at home and we didn't get it done.

The Predators are 5-5 in away games, with two of those losses coming in Games 1 and 2 of the Cup final.

The Penguins promptly won the first two games of the Cup Final, and it looked like they were well on their way to lifting the Cup again.

Rinne insisted his confidence isn't shaken though he was disappointed with Thursday's result.

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"He was doing some sort of UFC move on my foot", Crosby said. Jake Guentzel was awarded the secondary assist on the goal, giving him 21 points this postseason and tying him for first all-time with Dino Ciccarelli (1981) and Ville Leino (2010) in rookie playoff points.

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