The Pittsburgh Penguins had goals from six different players as they dominated the Nashville Predators, going up 3-2 in the series.
Penguins’ Offense Explodes
Justin Schultz opened up the scoring on the power play. Less than two minutes into the game, Schultz fired a shot from the point that blew past Pekka Rinne.
Bryan Rust put the Pens up 2-0 when he fired a great backhand shot that went in the top corner. Evgeni Malkin finished up the first period scoring when, with barely ten seconds left in the period, Geno fired a sweet wrister that went over Rinne’s glove.
To no one’s surprise, Juuse Saros started the second period in place of Rinne. But it was too late for Nashville to salvage the game, as the Pens scored three more goals in the second period.
Conor Sheary made it 4-0 when he was set up beautifully by a no-look pass from Sidney Crosby. About halfway through the period, Phil Kessel got the fifth goal of the night for the Pens with a great snipe from the high slot. Ron Hainsey got the last goal of the game, putting the puck into a wide-open net after being set up perfectly by Malkin.
Tempers Boil Over
Unsurprisingly, the game got very chippy as the score got out of hand. The Pens’ star players didn’t hesitate to get physical, either. Crosby tussled with P.K. Subban behind the net. Malkin got into a scrap with Roman Josi. Carl Hagelin was ejected late in the game after fighting Viktor Arvidsson. By the time the final buzzer went off, the teams had combined for 100 PIM.
Penguins Find Their Game
Throughout the series, the Pens had struggled with secondary scoring, special teams, and defense. The team had all of those things in spades in game 5. The Pens had six different goal scorers, and twelve players had points in the game. Importantly, five points came from the defense, including two goals.
Special teams also came through in this game. The Pens started the game with a crucial power play goal, and ended the night 1/6. It’s worth noting that the Pens had most of their power plays when the score was already pretty lopsided. The one power play goal they had was the game-winning goal.
Nashville was 0/2 on the power play and had 2 shots.
Looking at Game 6
The Penguins obviously had a great game, but have struggled to continue their dominant play on the road. They need to continue capitalizing on power play chances—Schultz’s power play goal made the difference in this game. The Pens’ transition game was strong tonight. If they can maintain the transition game on the road, when the matchups are against them, the Pens have a good chance to win game 6—and the series.
No team has won on the road yet in this series. But the Penguins go back to Nashville with a chance to win their fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history. Game 6 is Sunday night at 8 PM.