Crosby finished with three assists to reach 27 points, one behind Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin for the National Hockey League postseason scoring lead.
Thursday night was a big night for the Nashville Predators as they take on the Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. This move was done not as an indictment on Rinne, but to try to jumpstart the Predators.
The Predators are hardly blaming Rinne for their predicament. But things have escalated quickly between the two players and it was evident in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“You have to find the point of when a player is healthy enough to get back in the lineup and when they’re not healthy enough to get back and be able to contribute and play at a level that is needed right now at this point in the season”, said Laviolette. “I think if you watch just the history of the playoffs here, each game tends to take on its own identity, and I believe that teams that make it this far certainly have a resilience about them that they have the ability to respond and rebound and put their best effort forward”, he said. We have all the confidence in him. “That was a good boost for us”. Game 6 is Sunday night at 8 PM.
“When we go, we have dinner before and can go out after”.
During the intermission, Milbury said the defenseman deserved what he got.
But it wasn’t just Rust who stepped up in Game 5, which felt like an elimination game going in given how well Nashville plays at home. Game 5 winners win the series more times than not and team’s who take a 2-0 series lead win 95% of the time. If they can maintain the transition game on the road, when the matchups are against them, the Pens have a good chance to win game 6-and the series. Matt Murray made 24 saves. A lot of Penguins fans feared the worst until Chris Kunitz came to the rescue with his game-winning goal in double overtime. Backup Juuse Saros didn’t fare much better, giving up three goals in relief.
“You have those thoughts that why (is) the puck getting deflected in off our guys or something like that”, Rinne said Saturday. “It’s world-class players. We can’t shut them down game after game”.
He added his third assist on the first goal of the series from Phil Kessel, who had three points in the win. That all changed during the Penguins’ 6-0 win over the Nashville Predators, as the trio combined for two goals, eight points and seven shots.
But Rinne struggled again Thursday in Pittsburgh, a place where he’s never started and won in six career games.
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan thinks his Penguins have gotten better, calling Game 5 the best they’ve played yet in this series.
“We know we’ve got to win one road game and then a home game to boot”.
Crosby didn’t score in Game 5, but he set up three goals and could have easily had assisted on three more. But with four Stanley Cup Finals appearances in 12 seasons and two championships already, Crosby has nothing to prove.
“It’s a good game but it’s still not done”, Malkin said. “I think that’s a unsafe element of our game that has been prevalent throughout of course of this season”.
In the final minutes of the first period, Crosby collided with Subban behind the Pittsburgh net and ended up on top of him. That shift led to a Predators’ penalty and the game’s first goal on Pittsburgh’s ensuing power play, as Schultz beat Rinne with a point shot that went between his pads.
There was the slick blind backhand pass to Conor Sheary just 1:19 into the second period that made it 4-0. Crosby set up the first goal by Pittsburgh 91 seconds into the game Thursday night.
There’s the third Stanley Cup – one more than mentor and team owner Mario Lemieux – and the chance to lead the first repeat Cup champs in the salary cap era and first in nearly 20 years. A quintuplet of Predators scored to go along with Rinne’s bounce-back 27-save performance to complete a 5-1 victory, which clawed the first-time Cup contenders back in the series. You’re in your building for the first Stanley Cup Final game.