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Stanley Cup Final

Stanley Cup Final Buzz: Penguins one win away from repeat

Pittsburgh takes 3-2 series lead with dominant Game 5 victory against Predators

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Welcome to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final Buzz, your daily look at the stories impacting the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators. Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is Sunday in Nashville (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). NHL.com writers in Pittsburgh and Nashville will be checking in throughout the day.

Here is the Stanley Cup Final news for Friday:

 

5:15 p.m.

Predators trying to regroup

After a 6-0 loss to the Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena on Thursday, the Nashville Predators gathered at Bridgestone Arena on Friday to review on video some of their many mistakes. Trailing 3-2 in the best-of-7 series entering Game 6 on Sunday, the Predators have a couple of days to regroup and fix what went wrong.

The Predators lost the first two games of this series in Pittsburgh but rebounded to win Games 3 and 4 at home. The difference this time is the Stanley Cup will be in their building. Staff writer Tom Gulitti writes that the Predators must show urgency to avoid seeing the Penguins raise it on Sunday.

One area that the Predators need to improve is in how they play against Penguins stars Sidney Crosby (three assists), Evgeni Malkin (one goal, one assist) and Phil Kessel (one goal, two assists), who each had a big game Thursday. Correspondent Robby Stanley writes about what the Predators can do to contain the Penguins "Big Three."

It remains unclear whether the Predators will have defenseman Ryan Ellis for Game 6 after he sustained an unspecified injury in the second period Thursday. Gulitti has the latest on Ellis.

 

1:30 p.m.
Pittsburgh focused on process, finish line

All the clichés in the world won't stop the Penguins from being human. Yes, it's impossible for them not to think about the finish line, the Stanley Cup, which will be in Bridgestone Arena on Sunday when they try to close out the series and a repeat championship in Game 6 against the Predators.

But the thing about the Penguins, as senior writer Dan Rosen points out in his column, is they have the ability to think about the prize without losing focus on the process.

Part of the reason the Penguins can have this dual approach to Game 6 is because of their experience. They were in this exact position one year ago, up 3-2 going on the road for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final. However, as correspondent Wes Crosby writes, the scenario is the only thing that hasn't changed for the Penguins in the past year.

 

9:30 a.m.
Penguins one win away from second straight Cup

Home cooking has been the theme of the Stanley Cup Final, and did the Pittsburgh Penguins ever feast on Thursday at PPG Paints Arena.

Scoring early and often, the Penguins moved within one win of their second straight Stanley Cup championship with their Game 5 win against the Nashville Predators. They go for back-to-back titles on Sunday in Nashville (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). 

Here is a look at what happened Thursday:

 

Pittsburgh Penguins 6, Nashville Predators 0

Six different Penguins scored and Sidney Crosby had three assists to lead Pittsburgh in a one-sided game.

Crosby hit the post and drew a penalty on his first shift, setting the tone for a big night for the Penguins, and defenseman Justin Schultz scored on the ensuing power play. By the time the first period was over, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin had scored to chase Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who has allowed 11 goals in seven periods at PPG Paints Arena in the Final. 

Connor Sheary, Phil Kessel and Ron Hainsey also scored for the Penguins. 

With the three assists, Crosby passed Mario Lemieux as the Penguins' all-time leader in points in the Stanley Cup Final. 

NHL.com Columnist Nick Cotsonika writes that the game showed once again what a great player Crosby is.

But it wasn't just Crosby in Game 5. NHL.com Senior Writer Dan Rosen writes that all of the Penguins came to play.

Crosby's first shift was a thing a beauty. LNH.com Senior Managing Editor Arpon Basu breaks down the key moment of the game.

It was another long night in Pittsburgh for Rinne. NHL.com Staff Writer Tom Gulitti has the story on the Predators goalie after another loss at PPG Paints Arena.

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban, like most of his teammates, struggled in Game 5. NHL.com Staff Writer Lisa Dillman has his story.

Who were the top performers in Game 5? NHL.com Director of Editorial Shawn P. Roarke has the Honor Roll/Stock Report.

Video: Pens roll past Preds, 6-0, take 3-2 series lead

 

Here is NHL.com Staff Writer Tim Campbell with what we learned in Game 5:

 

Sidney Crosby is Sid-sational

Crosby, who was the Penguins' best player in Game 4 at Nashville, raised his level in Game 5, setting the tone for Pittsburgh with his skill and grit. Crosby ended the 6-0 victory with three assists in 17:44 of ice time; with 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) in 23 playoff games, he is one point behind playoff-leading scorer and teammate Evgeni Malkin (28 points; 10 goals, 18 assists). That Crosby is trending this way is invaluable for the Penguins.

 

Pittsburgh's power play perks up

The Penguins' power play, struggling and unsure through the first four games of the Cup Final (1-for-16), scored an important goal in Game 5. It was the first goal of the game, 1:31 into the first period, and came from some accurate and quick puck movement and a screen shot from Justin Schultz that eluded Nashville's shot blockers. The early strike set the tone for the Penguins, sending them on their way to the 6-0 victory.

 

Pekka Rinne can't win at PPG Paints Arena

Rinne can't seem to find his groove on the Penguins' home ice during the Final. He allowed three goals on nine shots and was out of Game 5 after the first period. Rinne has been pulled twice in Pittsburgh during the Final; he has a goals-against average of 5.40 and a save percentage of .756 in three appearances in Pittsburgh in the series. If the Predators get to a Game 7, Rinne will get one more chance to solve his struggles in Pittsburgh.

 

Predators under pressure

The Predators were a mess in many ways in Game 5; they struggled defensively and in goal, and their offense generated few scoring chances. There is only one option left for Nashville: Win Game 6 at home and earn get a last opportunity to figure out how to win a road game in Game 7 of the Final. The Predators haven't faced this kind of pressure during this year's playoffs.

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