Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

"I think it says a lot about the people we have. they have a real appetite to win", Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters Friday morning, mere hours after Pittsburgh's convincing 6-0 victory over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final. Pittsburgh C Sidney Crosby reached 20 career points in Stanley Cup Final games, moving one ahead of Mario Lemieux for the club record.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Pekka Rinne is a friendly, polite man off the ice. That tied him with Dino Ciccarelli (Minnesota North Stars, 1981) and Ville Leino (Philadelphia Flyers, 2010) for the most points by a rookie in an National Hockey League playoff season.

However, the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets that night with Marc-Andre Fleury subbing for Murray in goal. The Preds got their value in Neal and the Penguins can't be disappointed with how Hornqvist has worked out over the past two seasons.

Rust's goal 6:43 into the opening period, on a great backhander into the top corner, came off a feed from Kunitz and gave Pittsburgh an early two-goal cushion.

"It's disappointing, for sure", Rinne said.

After back-to-back losses, Murray is 5-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average and.939 save percentage.

In fact, the Predators were pleased overall with their play at PPG Paints Arena despite surrendering nine total goals in Games 1 and 2.

Yet the goalie and the Predators stand between Pittsburgh and a big chunk of history. If that happens, the Penguins will become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings won the Cup in 1997 and then in 1998. Can either of these teams win on the road or will home ice carry the day? Jake Guentzel's second period assist gave him 21 points in the playoffs, tying him with fellow rookies Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for the most ever by a freshman.

Both players were penalized two minutes for holding, and it led to a four-on-four that saw Evgeni Malkin fire a one-timer for a 3-0 lead with 11 seconds left.

Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust, Conor Sheary and Ron Hainsey also found the back of the net in the decisive win and Matt Murray pitched a 24-save shutout, his third career in the playoffs.

Yet there's been no question that Rinne, who has never won a start in Pittsburgh, will be in net Sunday night. "I don't think that necessarily they were bad goals". Pittsburgh's stars, as they are known to do, victimized the Predators, who shrunk in response. "They capitalized. We did a better job of managing the game that way in Games 3 and 4".

"It's not easy to get here", he said. "We know we're going to be facing a desperate team". Though he lost defence partner Ryan Ellis in the first couple of minutes of the second period, he didn't lose a step.

Ellis did not skate Saturday, though several Predators did not take the ice in an optional practice.

Roman Josi says his defensive partner obviously is a huge part of the Predators' defense.

The last time we checked, the Nashville Predators did not have a Sidney Crosby in their lineup.

On the Pittsburgh injury front, center Nick Bonino (ankle) sat out for the third straight game after getting drilled by a P.K. Subban slapshot in Game Two.

The Predators outscored the Penguins 9-1 in the past two games.

Crosby pushed the Penguins one step closer to another Stanley Cup with three assists in the 6-0 win Thursday. "And when they do that, they're hard to defend".

The Stanley Cup final has been a roller-coaster ride that way for the series' two starting goaltenders.

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