Defensemen help Penguins play fast in Stanley Cup Final

Once the Rangers lost to the bone-dry Senators in the second round, hope in the Eastern Conference rested exclusively on Sidney Crosby and the Penguins.

Oh yeah, and he was the first star and best skater on the ice for the Penguins 6-0 win over the Predators in a pivotal game after his 3 assists helped push Pittsburgh way out in front and to a series lead. Pittsburgh Penguins' Bryan Rust (17) celebrates his team's 6-0 victory over the Nashville Predators with goalie Matt Murray (30) after Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh. "There's a lot of things we can do better as a team".

Ron Hainsey - A sure sign that the game was going in Pittsburgh's favour: Hainsey had a goal and an assist.

"I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has, and he's not taking anything for granted", Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said.

"We made mistakes in front of him", Laviolette said. That allows Laviolette to use his top defense pairings more in faceoff situations to better counter the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

Crosby played out of his mind, in more ways than one. You may post to my Facebook or Twitter (@WilsonCoSports) pages or even email to You want the Cup? "He's very encouraging. He's very supportive, and these guys, they so look up to him for what he's accomplished in the game and the player and the person that he is, that they'll go through a wall for him".

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For the first four games of the series - even the two they won - the Penguins struggled to hold onto the puck and drive play, something that changed in a 6-0 blowout in Game 5. Drifting toward the back of the net, Crosby made a ideal backhand pass to Conor Sheary, who deposited the puck into the net to give Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead 79 seconds into the middle frame.

Facing elimination in game six, the Predators defenseman insisted his team will play better in Nashville. The Pens had six different goal scorers, and twelve players had points in the game. From Subban's waved-off goal in Game 1 to Thursday's head-banging (yes, the Pengys thoroughly outplayed the Preds and earned the win), we're left wondering whether there's a conspiracy to support the home team, especially since Pittsburgh fans could argue calls went against their team in Bridgestone Arena (which we could call the Bat Cave). Not only that, Crosby and Subban continued their personal rivalry, highlighted by Crosby repeatedly burying Subban's head into the ice behind the play.

Mike Milbury will never be confused for a member of the P.K. Subban fan club. "I'm not going to judge what's over the line and what's not". Rinne's backup, Juuse Saros, gave up three goals on 15 shots from the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Rinne performed superbly in two wins at home in Nashville, stopping 50-of-52 shots.

Pittsburgh couldn't close out Columbus, Washington or Ottawa the first chance the Penguins had in each of their previous three playoff series.

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    The first-period goals chased Rinne from Nashville's net; however, backup Juuse Saros ended up not faring any better. Schultz's shot from the point went through the legs of Nashville forward Auston Wilson and goaltender Pekka Rinne.

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