Pens regroup, Predators look for road magic in Game 5

The Penguins will likely need Malkin and Kessel at their best to wrestle back control of a series that's lately gone the Predators way. While this saps some of the momentum from game to game for either team - and there was plenty for the Penguins to build off of in Game 4 despite the loss as they were able to sustain more of an attack and generate scoring chances - it does allow for better physical recovery. A shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin gets past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) for a goal during the first period of Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh will have a chance to become the first franchise in 19 years to win back to back championships when the series shifts back to Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday night. Crosby was particularly good, setting the tone early on by beating Predators defensemen Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi to the net 50 seconds into the game. Nashville Predators' Viktor Arvidsson (38) and Pittsburgh Penguins' Carl Hagelin (62) trade punches during the third period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

"It's a good game but it's still not done", Malkin said. "Right now we've just got to focus on Game 6 at home and put all our energy in that one". Nashville went 3-1 in such games a year ago. And although Nashville has looked like the better team for the majority of the series, we still enter Game 5 tied at two - mostly because Penguins' star players have been individually brilliant at points over the first four games.

"I missed a couple shots that I probably don't want to miss", the fully-bearded Wisconsinite said after practice on Wednesday morning. If you're like me then you're always on the go.

Only one other player in National Hockey League history scored each of his first three career goals (regular season and playoffs) in the Stanley Cup Final when Chicago's John Harms did it in 1944 against Montreal. That all changed during the Penguins' 6-0 win over the Nashville Predators, as the trio combined for two goals, eight points and seven shots.


A three-on-two Penguins rush broke out near the halfway point of the middle stanza. "But now it's time". The only game that was remotely close was the freaky first game where Pittsburgh only had eleven shots but managed five goals.

He also said it's no coincidence that the home teams have won each game so far. "And that's just going to be like (that)". Crosby is looking to join Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman and Wayne Gretzky as the only players to captain back-to-back Cup winners in the last 30 years - and first in the salary cap era.

And yet, when the series began Wilson wondered if he would even dress for a game. It now comes down to a best-of-three for the Cup, meaning Nashville is simply going to have to win a game on the road, a fact Preds head Coach Peter Laviolette addressed on Tuesday.

Just 91 seconds after a Nashville fan flipped a catfish onto the PPG Paints Arena ice - a move that came shortly before a three-goal outburst by Nashville in Game 1 - Schultz powered home a slapshot to end an 0-for-15 power-play skid. He's as hungry as I've seen a player, and I just think he understands it. Pittsburgh then scored on the ensuing power play, with Schultz one-timing a pass from Crosby that seemed to redirect off a Nashville player's stick on its way in. The Predators couldn't get the puck out of their zone and failed to generate zone time until the middle of the period.

Determination was evident any time Crosby touched the puck and according to Mike Sullivan, that's no accident. He was determined to have his "best game" and did so with two points alongside Kessel, who finished with three himself (one goal, two assists) in the win.

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