Crosby has Penguins closing in on repeat Stanley Cup

The Predators are hardly blaming Rinne for their predicament. All eyes are on goaltenders Pekka Rinne and Matt Murray going into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final as the Predators visit the Penguins.

Pittsburgh's big names, led by Sidney Crosby, paced the Penguins in a Game Five rout over Nashville; Kessel, Malkin, Hainsey, Murray and more in Scott Cullen's Statistically Speaking.

"We made mistakes in front of him", Laviolette said.

"We lost the game 6-0, so I don't think anyone is happy", he said. "That's why he's such a great leader: because he drives guys around him to be better and makes everybody want to push just as hard as he does". If you look at the goals and the way they were scored, we gave up a power play early on, the next two we need better coverage, there's things we can do better in front of him.

The Predators are in a 3-2 hole with Game 6 coming up Sunday night in Nashville. "Nothing's done yet and we've got a lot of work ahead of ourselves". "We're going home and we're going to be re-energized. We've got to get one more win".

Combined, all of this - the home-road thing, the hook in Game 5, the Bridgestone effect - makes for a fascinating situation heading into Sunday's tilt.

After setting up three goals in a 6-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup final, Sidney Crosby moved one back of Malkin for the playoff scoring lead.

"He's obviously one of the best players, or the best player in the world", said Predators defenceman Roman Josi.

After all, it wasn't just Crosby (three assists) who shined for Pittsburgh on Thursday night.

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But Malkin and Kessel couldn't steal the spotlight from Crosby.

They got goals from Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel and Ron Hainsey.

"He's the same every day", Laviolette said of Rinne. A Bonino return in Game 5 might be a big boost to this depleted Penguins team. "We know what they're capable of, and we'll be looking to limit them next game".

But Rinne struggled again Thursday in Pittsburgh, a place where he's never started and won in six career games. So, to them it really doesn't matter if Nashville wins their own home game, as long as the Penguins capitalize on their chance in Pittsburgh.

"I enjoy it. We have a good group of kids and they don't feel like kids anymore after what they went through and what they did a year ago with Guentzel being the exception", Cullen said. We get to play at home and it's just a one-game mentality. But it likely won't be the same Rinne that the Penguins chased from the net in Game 5.

"We know we're no Kris Letangs back here", Schultz said. Crosby then started hitting Subban in the head repeatedly, eventually drawing a roughing penalty while Subban - who quipped that Crosby was complaining about Subban's bad breath during a Game 3 exchange - went off for holding. He finished with three points after registering only an assist in the first four games. Rinne was gone after the first period, pulled in favor of Juuse Saros for the second time in the series. The Penguins became the first team to get to six before the second intermission in a final game since Colorado against Florida in 1996. The Predators are 9-1 at home in the playoffs, having outscored their opponents 34-15.

"So I think that's an indication of his leadership and his will to win, and so, you know, I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has, and he's not taking anything for granted".

And the victor of game five will sit in a glorious position in what has now been reduced to a best-of-three series for Lord Stanley's Cup.


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