The Pittsburgh Penguins are one game away from a second consecutive Stanley Cup championship.
Six different players scored goals in the Penguins’ rout of the Nashville Predators Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
The 6-0 score tied for the seventh-biggest blowout in Stanley Cup Final history.
Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust, Evgeni Malkin, Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel and Ron Hainsey scored for the defending champions. Sidney Crosby had three assists, and goaltender Matt Murray had 24 stops in the shutout.
Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was pulled after allowing three goals in the first period. Backup Juuse Saros didn’t fare much better, giving up three goals in relief.
After the game, Rinne told The Associated Press:
“Obviously not the start you want to have. It seemed hard for us to get anything going. Right now we’ve just got to focus on Game 6 at home and put all our energy in that one.”
Predator coach Peter Laviolette, who talked to The AP, didn’t put all the blame on Rinne.
“We’ve got to be better in front of him. I don’t think that necessarily they were bad goals. Our guys have a tremendous amount of confidence him. We just have to do a better job in front of him.”
The Penguins were clearly fired up in front of the home crowd. Losing the two previous games in Nashville gave them something to think about on the trip home.
Heading into Nashville, Pittsburgh was leading the series 2-0 but the Predators won Games 3 and 4 and tied the series 2-2.
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.