Penguins thrash Predators in Game Five

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There were calls - all from outside the Pittsburgh Penguins organization - to switch starting goaltenders for Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday night at PPG Paints Arena.

The Predators are hardly blaming Rinne for their predicament. He stuck with Murray, reunited Sheary with Crosby and Jake Guentzel, and stressed his team needed to play with urgency but not desperation after the Predators rallied to tie the series by outscoring the Penguins 9-2 during two wins in Nashville. The 2nd period would end, but not before Ron Hainsey scored to make it 6-0. Our guys have a tremendous amount of confidence in him.

"We've got to get one more win now", Schultz said. If they continue on this path in Game 6, Gary Bettman will be presenting the Cup in Nashville this weekend.

"We've got a great, supportive fan base", coach Mike Sullivan said.

The best we can hope for is that Ryan Ellis is ok and that the Preds can hold serve at home on Sunday. For now anyway. If the first four games of an unpredictable series have dictated anything, it's that momentum is just one shot away.

The victor of tonight's Stanley Cup Final Game 5 in Pittsburgh is not guaranteed to win the series.

Justin Schultz has given the Penguins a 1-0 lead on the Predators with a power-play goal just 1:31 into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby carved through the Predators' defense with an ease that should be unfair, assisting on half of his team's goals.

The Penguins scored twice more after that in the first frame - Evgeni Malkin notably breaking through after two point-less games - and then Crosby kept it going moments into the second with another crafty set-up.

And while many eyes will be on Rinne to see if he channels his inner Roberto Luongo and lose on the road again (sorry Lu, you know we love you), you also have to wonder how short the leash is on Matt Murray?

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"Feeling good", Rinne said.

Conor Sheary may have big game performer written in his bio from now on. Who will come out on top and win the 2016-17 Stanley Cup?

It was a familiar showing for Rinne. They scored three goals in the first 3:28 of the third period. Losing the two previous games in Nashville gave them something to think about on the trip home.

Colin Wilson is expected to play for the Predators after missing the first three games of the series.

"Obviously not the start you want to have".

This was hardly the dine-and-dash assault levied by the Penguins in Games 1-2, when they twice blitzed their visitors for three goals in four-minute spans, but something more sustainable, fiercer. "I think we're just trying to prepare for that one game ahead of us, and we're hopeful that we'll put our best game on the ice".

All the good mojo Rinne generated while helping Nashville rally to tie the series at 2 vanished in a span of 20 minutes. Perhaps more prominently, it centers on Malkin, who has 26 points in the postseason but only two in his past five games and none since Game 2 of the Final.

"It's a good game but it's still not done", Malkin said. On Thursday night, the chirps between the two advanced to physicality when they got tangled behind the goal line, and Crosby pushed Subban's head into the ice several times.

When Hainsey, who waited 907 regular-season games before reaching the playoffs for the first time this season, tapped in a pass from Malkin to make it 6-0, the stage was set for the Penguins to return to familiar territory. They have asserted themselves in Nashville, and they are nearly certain to have the raucous backing of their Stanley Cup-hungry fans Sunday.

Give me a bot that tweets this at every person complaining about Crosby laying it on on Subban. "Right now, our mission is to win Game 6 and then come back and play the best game of the series".

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