Published: Sat, June 10, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

The Penguins scored in the ensuing 4-on-4 to go up 3-0 and take momentum into Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday night. They did it a year ago when they were up 3-1 in the Stanley Cup Final going into Game 5 at home against the San Jose Sharks.

Just as goaltender Pekka Rinne had said during the Predators' darkest playoff hour, they had life and they had hope Friday despite facing elimination for the first time in their improbable and intriguing run to the Stanley Cup Final. It didn't work. Saros gave up a goal on the first shot he faced.

"It's not the start you want to have, they scored an early one on the power play to get things going and it seemed hard for us to get anything going". Although the Penguins won the first two games, Nashville controlled the play and Pittsburgh relied on Matt Murray to deliver them wins. "I think we're just trying to prepare for that one game ahead of us, and we're hopeful that we'll put our best game on the ice".

"I don't know if anybody shakes off a game like that that quickly", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. Desperation should probably still fall on our side here where we know we've got to win a game in Pittsburgh.

Now they head to Pittsburgh needing to find a way to win in the home ice of the defending champions after dropping Games 1 and 2. Crosby is the best player in the game and they have him on their team, everything short of actually maiming a guy on the ice will be justifiable in a quest to win the Cup. And the Predators, seeded last among this year's 16 playoff teams, is riding high after two straight routs in front of a roaring home crowd. This somehow turned into an actual talking point about what Subban said to Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby after the Predators cut into the Penguins' series lead. Pittsburgh is one win away from a Stanley Cup and Nashville can't lose again.

"You come here with the mindset that you knew what happened the first two games, but that's not going to change the way I play or prepare", Rinne said. The post-game questions, however, centred around a brief wrestling match with Predators defenceman P.K. Subban and his toss of a water bottle from the bench.

Barkley said the National Hockey League playoffs were more entertaining than the NBA's, and ratings are up considerably from a year ago when the Penguins beat the San Jose Sharks in six games.

Simply, the Penguins have two chances to repeat; the Predators have one shot at stopping them.

As well, Penguins' rookie Jake Guentzel earned an assist on Sheary's goal, his 21st point of the playoffs. Crosby tied Denis Potvin for 19th in all-time playoff points, with 164, and recorded his 56th multi-point playoff game, tying Glenn Anderson and Paul Coffey for the fourth-most behind Wayne Gretzky's 108. The Cup will be in the building when they play Game 6 at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVA Sports). Justin Schultz beat Rinne just 91 seconds in, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin followed before the first period horn sounded, continuing Rinne's baffling inability to play effectively in Pittsburgh during the series. Subban has his arms wrapped around Crosby's leg-Crosby does try to get up but Subban's not having it.

"I think just like everybody". Perhaps more prominently, it centers on Malkin, who has 26 points in the postseason but only two in his past five games and none since Game 2 of the Final. But they'll have to win again in Pittsburgh next week to lift the Stanley Cup. Crosby then started hitting Subban in the head repeatedly, eventually drawing a roughing penalty while Subban - who quipped that Crosby was complaining about Subban's bad breath during a Game 3 exchange - went off for holding. Besides, of the four Stanley Cup's Pittsburgh has won, all four have been clinched on the road... but stats don't matter. Wilson missed the first four games of the series with an unspecified lower-body injury.

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