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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final blog: Ian Cole

Penguins defenseman focused on championship, praises captain Sidney Crosby in Game 5 win against Predators

by Ian Cole / Special to

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ian Cole will be keeping his own blog throughout the course of the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators. Cole will check in regularly with behind-the-scenes access.

Cole, 28, is in his second full season with the Penguins. He was acquired by Pittsburgh in a trade with the St. Louis Blues on March 2, 2015. Cole won the Stanley Cup with the Penguins last season and had 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 81 games this season.

Here is Cole's sixth entry, after the Penguins 6-0 win in Game 5 on Thursday that gave them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series:


PITTSBURGH -- Let's not downplay this. This was big. This was very big for us.

A 6-0 win in Game 5, a swing game in the Stanley Cup Final, is obviously big. It means we're one win away. But make no mistake, we're going to stay very focused on the prize.

Winning a third game in a seven-game series doesn't really do much for you in the long run. You need to win the fourth one.

This was a good effort. We did a good job. We scored six goals and didn't allow any. But right now we have to almost immediately put it behind us and get hungry for the fourth win, which is what really makes a team.


[RELATED: Complete Predators vs. Penguins series coverage | Key Moment, Game 5: Crosby sparks Penguins]


How about Sidney Crosby? Tremendous.

All year long everybody adds to the tone, but we follow our leaders, and as our captain he is the guy that continuously sets that tone. He has all year long and he obviously did it again Thursday. Guys step up and follow that, but he sets it.

He's the best player in the world and he continues to show it every night. He's just so dominant. I mean, it's a 1-on-2 and he ends up getting a breakaway and hits the post against their top 'D' pair on his first shift.

I don't know what it is, but there's a thing that happens to us when we know Crosby has it going on. Everybody sees it. We go as he goes. We respond in kind, like we did in Game 5.

I thought our 'D' had great gaps and turned a ton of pucks over and kept a lot of pucks in the offensive zone. We also helped create a lot offensively.

And our forwards were going, from one through 12. Everybody was forechecking, reloading, tracking pucks, causing turnovers.

That's the way we want to play. We want to play in your face. We want to create turnovers. It's really tough to play against. You saw it. When everybody is going, it's going to be a good game for us.

And now we wait. We rest and we wait.

We have an off day Friday, a practice and travel day Saturday, then a morning skate and then, finally, puck drop at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports).

This is going to be tough. Nobody expects anything different. They obviously play very well in their building. They defeated us there twice.

For us, it'll be good to take a step back, a step away Friday to get a day off and get some rest.

There is the saying that when you're playing well you want to keep playing, which I think is true in some sense, but at the same time rest is a weapon at this time of the year. Everyone gives it their all every shift so when you can get a day off and get some rest it gives us more energy for the next game and that is only beneficial for us.

This team we have here, we've played a lot of hockey in the past two years. It's been two very long seasons with one short summer in between and we wouldn't trade it for anything. But one day helps to recharge the batteries. One day off matters.

And, look, we have a very mature, a very professional team so when we get a day off guys are doing everything they possibly can to recover and regenerate and try to get their energy back. That's what we have to do now. If we do it right it'll put us in a good spot.

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