Who played well in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final? Sometimes it's easy to tell, sometimes it's not. NHL.com graded the players in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 6-0 home win against the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Here are the ones who stood out the most.
Sidney Crosby (Penguins) -- The captain set the tone from the opening faceoff. He hit the post and drew a penalty on his first shift and assisted on the power-play goal. He had three assists to give him 20 Stanley Cup Final points, most in Penguins history, one more than Mario Lemieux.
Matt Murray (Penguins) -- He gave up eight goals in the two games in Nashville and allowed 12 in the first four games. There was talk about replacing him with Marc-Andre Fleury. Instead, he stopped 24 shots for a shutout, his second in nine appearances this postseason.
Phil Kessel (Penguins) -- Another player under fire, Kessel was flying all night and ended a six-game goal drought when he scored at 8:02 of the second period to make it 5-0. He had two assists, including a nifty drop pass on the goal by Evgeni Malkin that made it 3-0.
Olli Maatta (Penguins) -- The defenseman has struggled at times in this series but he was solid on Thursday. He had two hits and blocked two shots in 17:44.
Evgeni Malkin (Penguins) -- His goal, a hard shot off a drop pass from Kessel, made it 3-0 with 11 seconds left in first period. He also had five hits and blocked a shot.
Conor Sheary (Penguins) -- It didn't take long for the promotion to the first line to pay off. He was dangerous on numerous occasions and scored 1:19 into the second, beating replacement goalie Juuse Saros. He had two shots on goal, three shot attempts and two hits.
Ron Hainsey (Penguins) -- Playing in the biggest playoff game of his NHL career, Hainsey had a solid performance. He had a goal, his second of the postseason, and an assist in 20:56.
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Crosby talks Pens' 6-0 rout in Game 5
Roman Josi (Predators) -- He played 24:46 for the game, 19:20 in the first two periods. He was the most effective defender and one of the few Predators to generate a quality scoring chance. He had three shots on goals and seven shot attempts, blocked three shots and along with Ryan Ellis were the only defensemen not to have a minus rating.
Calle Jarnkrok (Predators) -- No forward for Nashville played more than Jarnkrok, the No. 2 center. He played 17:20, including 3:36 on the penalty kill.
Mike Sullivan (up) -- The Penguins coach did not panic. He stuck with Murray in net and moved Sheary to the top line, flopping him with Bryan Rust. He reinserted Scott Wilson into the lineup. Each move paid off in Game 5 as Murray had a shutout, Sheary scored and Wilson was plus-2.
Home cooking (up) -- The home team has dominated this series. In three home games the Penguins have scored 15 goals. In two games in Nashville they have two. The Predators have nine goals in two home games and four in three games in Pittsburgh.
Jake Guentzel (up) -- With a secondary assist on the Sheary goal, Guentzel got his 21st point of the postseason, tying the rookie record also held by Dino Ciccarelli of the Minnesota North Stars in 1981 and Ville Leino of the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
Pekka Rinne (down) -- He has allowed 11 goals on 45 shots in the three games in Pittsburgh and has been pulled in each of the past two games here. On Thursday he was yanked after allowing three goals on nine shots in the first period.
Pittsburgh crowd (up) -- After hearing about how great the crowds were in Nashville for the past two games, the Pittsburgh fans answered in kind. They were as loud, as supportive and as rambunctious as they have been in any of the three Stanley Cup Final games.
Nashville's third pair of defensemen (down) -- Yannick Weber and Matt Irwin had been sheltered a bit in the first four games. The Ellis injury in the second period changed that. Weber played 15:24 and Irwin 19:46. Combined, they were a minus-5 and managed one shot on goal and one blocked shot.
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Sullivan, players talk Game 5 win
Sights and Sounds
"We go to Nashville to win." -- Penguins center Evgeni Malkin
"It wasn't good. It was not the period we were looking for, and it really didn't get much better after that. Definitely things we could have done better defensively." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette
"Lot of good games tonight but this guy was flying all night." -- Penguins goalie Matt Murray handing the hard hat to defenseman Ron Hainsey
Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Hainsey finishes smooth passing play
"I don't think I've ever been around an athlete as driven as Sid is." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan on Sidney Crosby
"He's trying to do his job and I'm trying to do mine." -- Penguins captain Sidney Crosby on his frequent physical and verbal run-ins with Predators defenseman P.K. Subban in this series