Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

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Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

A series has broken out.

Much like the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, this game had two key elements: the Penguins' opportunism and Pekka Rinne faltering.

The Predators are 9-1 at home in the playoffs, a place they will need to be a haven once again if they want to extend their improbable Cup run - and a flat-out odd final - back to Pittsburgh.

The winger, who started Game 5 on Sidney Crosby's line and scored 79 seconds into the second period to give the Penguins a 4-0 lead, welcomed any potential source of good fortune as he looked to continue moving past his most frustrating portion of the playoffs, which included two scratches against Ottawa, and building on his modest point production in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final and Game 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.

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. There were some goals in this game. The Penguins have the experience.

"I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has and he's not taking anything for granted", Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "It's not only us exhausted".

Murray has posted a 5-3 mark with a 2.08 goals-against average and.925 save percentage in the past nine games after missing the first two rounds of the playoffs due to a lower-body injury. He's not really anxious about the 190 feet in front of Murray, either. But once the game started, the ice belonged to the Penguins.

"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. "It always has a connotation of hopelessness. If you've got a team that has momentum and a team that's got desperation, for me anyway, the scarier team is the one that's got desperation", he said. "We did a good job of that and got rewarded for it".

Crosby said Subban lost his stick and proceeded to do "some UFC move on my foot" while holding him down on the ice. "I don't know that I've been around an athlete, not just a hockey player, but an athlete, that is as driven as Sid is".

Justin Schultz opened the scoring with a power-play goal just 1:31 into the game.

Back home in Pittsburgh after two defeats in Nashville, the Penguins poured it on to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven championship series. Not with the ultimate prize so close at hand.

In 2005, the Predators took Hornqvist with the last pick in the NHL Draft. Now they're two victories away from a title few saw coming. Since the Predators are headed back to Bridgestone Arena for Game 6, Rinne will nearly certainly be back in the net.

Maybe it's fitting considering the 19-season journey they've taken to get to this point. Saros didn't have much luck either, thanks to the reappearance of the high-level offensive efficiency that got the Penguins to this point. Rinne, the Predators goaltender who was so brilliant in Nashville, turned back into a pumpkin in Pittsburgh. "Our focus has to be on that game and getting one win". "There's no other way around it". Then came his finest work so far in Game 5, brilliance which was apparent on that opening shift.

The Penguins increased their lead in the second period, as Conor Sheary put Pittsburgh up 4-0 just 1:19 into the period on one of Saros' first shots faced in the game. "I think both teams have gotten better throughout the series and that's expected".

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