Defencemen help Penguins play fast in Stanley Cup Final


Game 6 provides the Nashville Predators with a chance to extend the series on their home ice, but that could be a challenge after the beatdown the Pittsburgh Penguins provided the previous night.

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) tangles with Nashville Predators' P.K. Subban (76) during the first period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

The Latest on Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final (all times local): 7:05 p.m. Rinne chopped his stick against a goalpost not once, but twice after giving up a fifth and final goal a year ago when Nashville was ousted from the playoffs.

Tweaks made by Sullivan and assistant coach Jacques Martin got the best out of that blue line Thursday with two goals and three assists.

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For the second time in the series, Pittsburgh chased Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne, after he gave up three first-period goals on nine shots. I don't think that necessarily they were bad goals.

The Predators know exactly what they need to do better against Pittsburgh.

The entire Nashville team just seems to receive a boost when playing in front of its fans. "So I know there's things that we can do that can support our goaltender better".

Ellis did not skate Saturday, though several Predators did not take the ice in an optional practice. Ellis plays with Roman Josi on Nashville's top defensive pair and is tied for third with 13 points this postseason.

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Hainsey turned Nashville's James Neal inside out in Pittsburgh's end after the former Penguin whiffed on a big-hit attempt, then headed up ice and eventually finished off a feed from Malkin for a 6-0 lead at 16:40 of the second. Pittsburgh C Nick Bonino missed his third straight game. He's stopped just 34 of 45 in Pittsburgh during the series.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as he has for each of the last two springs when his team finds itself in a tight spot, pushed all the right buttons again. "We believe that we're gaining traction and momentum with each game that we play, and we understand that the next one is going to be the hardest, and so we're going to have to reset our mindset and be ready to play that game".

However, Nashville has been a dominant team on home ice throughout this year's post-season, going 9-1 in 10 contests at Bridgestone Arena, and outscored the Penguins by a wide 9-2 margin in victories as home chalk in Games 3 and 4 of this series.

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