TOP SCORERS POWER PENGUINS TO GAME 5 WIN, 3-2 SERIES LEAD
Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Evgeni Malkin (1-1-2), Sidney Crosby (0-3-3) and Phil Kessel (1-2-3), the top three scorers, respectively, during the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs, each had multipoint games in the Penguins' 6-0 defeat of the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final on Thursday. The win gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
* Malkin now has an NHL-best 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists). He has at least 10 goals in a playoff year for the third time in his 10 NHL postseasons; he had 14 goals in 2009 and 10 goals in 2008. Two other Penguins players have as many playoff years with 10 or more goals, Mario Lemieux, who did it four times, and Jaromir Jagr, who did it three times.
* Crosby, who is second in the League to Malkin with 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) had his 56th multipoint NHL postseason game in 147 games, tied for fourth in NHL history with Paul Coffey (194 games) and Glenn Anderson (225 games). Crosby also has 20 points (four goals, 16 assists) in 24 Stanley Cup Final games, passing Lemieux for most points by a Penguins player in the Final. Lemieux had 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in nine games.
* Kessel, who has 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) had his fifth three-point NHL playoff game in 70 career games. Four of those games have come in the last two years (48 games). That includes two earlier this postseason; he had one goal and two assists in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets and two goals and one assist in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Washington Capitals.
Video: Pens roll past Preds, 6-0, take 3-2 series lead
Home Team in Caps
PITTSBURGH 6, Nashville 0 - PIT leads 3-2
HOME SWEET HOME
* The home team has won the opening five games of the Stanley Cup Final, the 12th such occurrence since the series adopted the best-of-7 format in 1939 but the first time since 2011. Three of the prior 11 such instances featured the home team winning all seven games of the series, in 1955 (Detroit Red Wings vs. Canadiens), 1965 (Canadiens vs. Chicago Blackhawks) and 2003 (New Jersey Devils vs. Anaheim Ducks).
* Home teams have won 38 of the past 54 games in the Stanley Cup Final dating to 2009 (70.4 percent). The Penguins now have won 13 of their 17 all-time home games in the Stanley Cup Final, including five of six in the past two years.
* The Penguins have won 10 of their 13 home games this postseason, a franchise record. Only four teams in NHL history have more such victories in a single playoff year: the 2003 Devils (12), 1988 Edmonton Oilers (11), 2009 Red Wings (11) and 2013 Blackhawks (11).
* The home team owns a 24-6 goals advantage thus far in the Stanley Cup Final (PIT: 15-4, NSH: 9-2).
MURRAY, PENGUINS JOIN RARE COMPANY
Matt Murray made 24 saves in the Penguins victory. Three other teams have posted a shutout victory with as large of a margin in the Stanley Cup Final since the NHL took control of the trophy in 1926-27: the 1947 Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-0 in Game 1, the 1965 Canadiens defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 6-0 in Game 5 and the 1991 Penguins defeated the Minnesota North Stars 8-0 in Game 6.
The Penguins had their third shutout in 34 all-time Stanley Cup Final games and first in 25 years. Tom Barrasso had the other two, both on the road. He made 39 saves in the aforementioned series-clinching 8-0 win in Game 6 in 1991 at the North Stars, and 27 saves in a 1-0 victory against the Blackhawks in Game 3 of the 1992 Final.
Murray became the third rookie goaltender with a shutout in the Stanley Cup Final during the League's expansion era (since 1967-68), joining the Canadiens' Patrick Roy in against the Calgary Flames in Game 4 in 1986, and the Carolina Hurricanes' Cam Ward against the Oilers in Game 2 in 2006.
GUENTZEL TIES NHL ROOKIE RECORD
With his second-period assist, Penguins forward Jake Guentzel now has 21 points (13 goals, eight assists) in 24 games, tying the single-year NHL playoff record for points by a rookie, set by the North Stars' Dino Ciccarelli in 1981 (14 goals, seven assists in 19 games) and equaled by the Philadelphia Flyers' Ville Leino in 2010 (seven goals, 14 assists in 19 games).
Guentzel, who already owns the NHL rookie mark for game-winning goals in a single postseason with five, is one goal behind Ciccarelli's rookie record of 14 in 1981.
GAME 5 TREND
The team that has won Game 5 after a split of the opening four games of the Final has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 17 of 24 prior times (70.8 percent) since the series adopted the best-of-7 format in 1939.
However, the team that has lost Game 5 has rebounded to win the series in four of the past eight such instances, all since 2001: The 2001 Colorado Avalanche, the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning, the 2009 Penguins and the 2011 Boston Bruins.
DID YOU KNOW?
Teams that have lost by six or more goals have bounced back to win the following game in all three prior instances this postseason: the Oilers in the Western Conference First Round against the San Jose Sharks (lost 7-0 in Game 4, won 4-3 in overtime in Game 5), the Ducks in the Western Conference Second Round against the Oilers (lost 7-1 in Game 6, won 2-1 in Game 7) and the Ottawa Senators in the Eastern Conference Final against the Penguins (lost 7-0 in Game 5, won 2-1 in Game 6).
Pittsburgh has outscored Nashville 9-2 in the first period of the Stanley Cup Final. … Crosby leads all players with seven points (one goal, six assists) during the Final. … Twelve Pittsburgh players had at least one point in Game 5. … Penguins forward Conor Sheary celebrated his 25th birthday with his fourth career Stanley Cup Final goal. Teammate Ron Hainsey had a goal and an assist for his first multipoint NHL playoff game in 24 career games. … ICYMI: The NHL announced that actor, director and author Joe Manganiello will host the 2017 NHL Awards and NHL Expansion Draft presented by T-Mobile. … The Los Angeles Kings signed forward Tyler Toffoli to a three-year contract. … REMINDER: The latest episode of ALL ACCESS: Quest for the Stanley Cup premieres tonight on SHOWTIME at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
SNEAK PEEK AT SUNDAY'S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Pittsburgh @ Nashville, PIT leads 3-2, 8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports