June 26, 2017

Predators freeze out Penguins to level Stanley Cup

19 June 2017, 12:33 | Sandy Nunez

Predators freeze out Penguins to level Stanley Cup

The Nashville Predators celebrate after their 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final on Monday night in Nashville Tenn

The Thunder Bay, Ont., native, who guided the Penguins to their fourth Stanley Cup previous year, has a.925 save percentage in the playoffs.

The question for the Penguins, who own a 3-2 series lead and are one win away from repeating as Stanley Cup champions, is whether they can continue that effort on the road in Tennessee on Sunday, where they've had so much trouble.

Nick Bonino didn't practice for the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday, and he wasn't on the ice for morning skate ahead of Game 5 in Pittsburgh.

Game 5 is Thursday night. I don't believe that's the word that we want to use to describe our team. Kessel scored his first in six games, making it 5-0 later in the period, while Hainsey capped Pittsburgh's second three-goal period of the game.

The Penguins overwhelmed Rinne again, sending Nashville's star goaltender to the bench in Pittsburgh for a second straight game in the Stanley Cup Final.

Barkley said the National Hockey League playoffs were more entertaining than the NBA's, and ratings are up considerably from a year ago when the Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks in six games.

Nashville rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the best-of-seven series and the home team has won all five games. It was Arvidsson's first goal in 15 games.

Pegged for eight goals on only 36 shots in dropping the first two games, Rinne has rediscovered the form which helped the Preds storm through the first three rounds.

Crosby didn't score in Game 5, but he set up three goals and could have easily had assisted on three more.

The 27-year-old forward scored 12 goals in the regular season for Nashville.

"It's hard to win when you score one goal", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.

It certainly couldn't be expected to work when the Stanley Cup is on the line.

Crosby said the next game is key. What they need, then, is for those forwards - and we're talking about you, Phil Kessel - to start lugging the puck up the ice with some speed themselves.

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This seems nearly paradoxical. It was one of four shots on goal for Crosby in the game.

"We felt like if we could get one, we could get back in it, and they just kept coming", Nashville Captain Mike Fisher said.

Predators - D P. Subban (Probable Thursday, ankle), LW C. Wilson (Questionable Thursday, lower body), C R. Johnasen (Out for season, thigh), LW K. Fiala (Out for season, leg).

"We know we can play better in this building".

Just how bad? In the 16 power plays the Penguins have had, they have managed just seven shots on goal.

Each team now needs two victories to win the Cup. "They've had some high-quality chances, and the puck hasn't gone in the net for the last couple of games".

That's definitely going to have to improve.

So is he, a quality goalie who endured many seasons when the Predators lacked size or physicality or scoring.

The Predators think they're in a pretty good spot, too, with two wins in a row.

It was a risky play from a player who should probably know better based on his own concussion history, however, it illustrated the kind of attitude Crosby had brought to what was a pivotal Game 5. It's been (fun) not just for my family but I'm sure for all the players on the other side as well.

He's far from the only unexpected contributor for Nashville during these playoffs.

Penguins' defensemen have struggled with turnovers, especially in this series. And over the past three days, as the Predators have held serve in the series, Nashville has proven that it was ready for its Stanley Cup Final close-up. They accounted for a quarter of the total giveaways committed by the entire defense - over the course of the series.

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