PITTSBURGH ROLLS PAST NASHVILLE IN GAME 5 OF STANLEY CUP FINAL
By Marc Auker
This one wasn’t even close. The Pittsburgh Penguins put on a show Thursday night as they dominated the Nashville Predators 6-0. The PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania housed a sold-out crowd that hoped for a home-ice win. The Penguins gave the fans what they wanted by way of a dominant win and a lead in the best-of-seven series, 3-2.
The Predators looked to be in for a rough night very shortly after the puck was first dropped in the first period of play. Pittsburgh defenseman Justin Shultz rocketed in a goal very early in the period. That goal was quickly followed up by a backhanded goal by the Pittsburgh right wing Bryan Rust, which made the score 2-0.
With about 10 seconds left in the first period, Pittsburgh center Evgeni Malkin scored from the circle on the left wing off a pass from right wing Phil Kessel to take a commanding 3-0 lead. The final buzzer of the first period proved to be quits for Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, who was a key part in the Predators’ games 3 and 4 wins.
The second period wasn’t any easier for the Predators. Juuse Saros, who took over goalie duties after Rinne was benched, was scored on three times during the period. The Penguins had a 6-0 lead when the final buzzer of period two sounded and the fans went crazy. It was clear the night was going to be their night. Though the third period didn’t bring any scoring, the Penguins secured the win to put themselves one game away from back-to-back championships.
The Predators will look to bounce back in front of a home crowd during game 6. Rinne has been sensational at home during this Stanley Cup Final, so he will have to put this lackluster performance behind him to give his squad a chance to force a game 7 in Pittsburgh. Perhaps some catfish will bring the Predators some hometown luck.
Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is slated for June 11 in Nashville, Tennessee at 8 p.m. EST.