Penguins to stick with goalie Matt Murray for Game 5
Jun 17 2017 by Johnnie Parsons
The Penguins thrashed Nashville 6-0 in Pittsburgh on Thursday in a dominant Game Five victory that wrestled back control of the Stanley Cup Final series. The Penguins exploded for three goals late in the first period, and another two late in regulation, to secure the win in the opener, before riding a three-goal outburst in the third period to grab Game 2.
The Penguins did not relent, attempting 11 shots to the Predators' three in the first eight minutes of the game.
This has not been the most grueling of Cup Final schedules.
Ron Hainsey gets the puck; all of Pittsburgh winces. Now they're two victories away from a title few saw coming. Ellis was among several Predators who did not take part in an optional practice Saturday. The teams combined for 100 penalty minutes (58 for Nashville, 42 for Pittsburgh). Phil Kessel scored not long after that. That that point Crosby displayed his sublime passing sixth sense, backhanding the puck to Conor Sheary, who flipped over Saros's right pad on the first shot the Finnish goaltender faced. That honor goes to the MVP of the Stanley Cup playoffs. But there's still at least one more chance for the teams to provide a one-goal game or maybe even some overtime, which had been on pace to break the all-time record for a single postseason through three rounds. Wilson, who last played in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, also was evasive when asked if he will play, but sounded optimistic. Perhaps that's because Crosby realizes how hard it is to even reach the final in consecutive seasons - not done previously since the Penguins and Red Wings in 2008 and 2009 - let alone win it twice in a row. They each received two minutes for holding.
The Penguins capped off their offensive rally with their sixth goal with 3:20 left in the second period.
The Penguins have the highest team shooting percentage (9.6%) during the playoffs. The Penguins have played the entire postseason without their top defenseman.
The Penguins have again gotten to Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Nashville scored three times in the second period of Game 1 to even things up before losing 5-3. In the three games played in Pittsburgh in this series, Rinne has been yanked twice. For Game 1, Pittsburgh is a -165 moneyline favorite against the +145 underdog Predators with a 5.5-goal total.
Bonino now boasts four goals and seven points through 21 postseason games, a step back from the 18 points in 24 games that he was able to put up during the team's successful championship run in 2016.
Pittsburgh kept up the pressure and Chris Kunitz set up Rust for a backhander that sailed past Rinne's glove to make it 2-0 at 6:43. It's his seventh goal of the playoffs. In Nashville, he managed one goal on five shots. I'm tempted to side with the Penguins to close this out because they are a veteran team that's won big games on the road and the last thing they want is a game seven for the cup where anything can happen.
"We're at a point in the season where you sink or swim".
Prior to the game, a Predators fan tossed a catfish onto the ice. Rinne only looks like an National Hockey League goalie when he's in the Bridgestone Arena, as he's been getting blasted in Pittsburgh.
It ended with haymaker after haymaker - both literal and proverbial - from Sidney Crosby and the rest of the resilient Pittsburgh Penguins. Will that translate into success this time around in Pittsburgh?
"When these guys play a committed, inspired game the way they do and they execute, then their talent and their instincts are going to take over", Sullivan said.
Rinne has looked like a completely different player on the road than at home in the Stanley Cup Final. Murray, on the other hand, is coming off two consecutive losses and has never lost three in a row since entering the National Hockey League. He has a.756 save percentage and a 5.41 goals against average on the road, but a.961 save percentage and a 1.0 goals against average at home.
Nashville has attacked the Penguins with speed throughout the series and has been able to get consistent opportunities against Penguins goalie Matt Murray. "I know you're not allowed to do that, so I'm not going to start doing it in the Stanley Cup Final". And the game was on Washington's home ice.
We know historically that the teams that generally get the better end of the shot or chance volume will end up winning games. "Our focus is really more concerned about just that one game in front of us". But after two games in Nashville, the Predators have seized momentum. He also leads all goal scorers so far in the final with four. Though Ryan Johansen's absence has created a big challenge for Predators coach Peter Laviolette, it seems as though his incredibly deep defensive corps are having their way with most Pittsburgh units. Fleury wound up with the starting job in the playoffs anyways though as Murray was sidelined with a lower-body injury.
Meanwhile, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan was not ready to name his starter for Game 5 after Matt Murray's two sub-par performances in Games 3 and 4.
The series was tied 2-2. Bonino has missed the past two games after taking a shot to the left foot or ankle.