Penguins to stick with goalie Matt Murray for Game 5

Murray on Game 5 starter: If I knew I wouldn't say

The goals that came so easily to the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final - the ones that arrived in bunches and seemed to signal an emphatic end to Pekka Rinne's spectacular playoff run - have disappeared.

"There's a lot of competitive guys, but I don't think there are a lot of guys who can raise their level to where he gets to", 40-year-old Matt Cullen said of Crosby after the Penguins win, which gave them a 3-2 series lead. 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. After letting up three goals on nine shots in the first period, he was pulled for Juuse Saros, who started the second. It didn't work. Saros gave up a goal on the first shot he faced. "You know how the ice is going to play".

This was hardly the dine-and-dash assault levied by the Penguins in Games 1-2, when they twice blitzed their visitors for three goals in four-minute spans, but something more sustainable, fiercer. "We have a couple of days to focus on Sunday's game, that's going to be a huge one for us".

"I don't know if anybody shakes off a game like that that quickly", Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "I think if I just make a save on that breakaway (on the third goal by Viktor Arvidsson) it's a different game".

"When he plays that way it's awfully easy to follow him", Penguins forward Matt Cullen said.

But it wasn't just Rust who stepped up in Game 5, which felt like an elimination game going in given how well Nashville plays at home. In all five games of this series, the home team has emerged victorious - and for Pittsburgh, the win snapped a two-game losing streak which had appeared to tip the momentum in the series in favour of the underdog Predators. If Rinne can again be the wall he was in Games 3 and 4 in Nashville, where he yielded only two goals in 52 shots, there will be a Game 7 at Pittsburgh on Wednesday.

Game 6 will be played Sunday night in Nashville, where the Penguins will try to be the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98. The teams that lost those games came back to win their next matches.

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"He was doing some sort of UFC move on my foot", Crosby said.

"You remind yourself that you're still in the final and as long as there's life, there's hope", Rinne said.

The Predators will have center Colton Sissons for Game 6 after the National Hockey League automatically reviewed his cross-check of Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta's face inside the final minute of Game 6. With an assist on Sheary's goal, Jake Guentzel tied the rookie playoff points record with 21 points.

Sidney Crosby had three assists while Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin got on the scoreboard in the opening period. The NHL playoffs is a grind and I think that's one of the reasons why the Stanley Cup is the most hard trophy to win in sports: The grind of the playoffs. But with four Stanley Cup Finals appearances in 12 seasons and two championships already, Crosby has nothing to prove. Kessel ended a six-game goal drought 8:02 into the second. They also have killed 24 of 25 penalties in the Stanley Cup Final. Now, Crosby has certainly had his share of taking brutal hits during the playoffs, but taking all of his frustrations out on Subban's head was indefensible.

In the second period, Crosby found Conor Sheary with a backhand pass from behind the net to make it 4-0.

For those seeking omens, there's this: the Penguins clinched each of their previous Cup titles on the road, winning at Minnesota in 1991, at Chicago in 1992, at Detroit in 2009 and at San Jose a year ago. Instead, his penalty was just one of 14 given to the Predators with 10 handed out to Pittsburgh for a total of 100 penalty minutes.

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