Predators

The Predators’ backs are now against the wall.

Heading into Game Five with the series tied at 2-2, the story heading into the game for the Predators was if they were able to take this game the series was in their hands heading back to Music City for Game Six. Pittsburgh however had an advantage of its own however as it held home ice for the remainder of the series which means a lot when neither team has won on the road during the series.

Nashville is going to have to win in Pittsburgh to take the Cup, and the Preds will have to win Game Six at home to get a chance to do just that in Game Seven as they fell 6-0 in Game Five.

Things couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start for the Predators.

Just 50 seconds into the contest Ryan Ellis was called for a hooking minor and the Penguins made the Preds pay as Just Schultz fired home a slapshot from the point, the Penguins’ third shot on goal, through traffic and past Pekka Rinne to give Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead.

Schultz’ goal may have made it just a 1-0 game, but it opened up the flood gates for the Penguins.

Pittsburgh clearly grabbed momentum after the tally and doubled up its lead five minutes later when Bryan Rust received a pass from Chris Kunitz and showed off his backhanded shot beating Rinne high.

Following the Rust goal, things settled down a bit as the Preds did create a number of scoring chances, but couldn’t beat Matt Murray.

The Predators found themselves in an even deeper hole with just 11 seconds left in the opening period as Phil Kessel found Evgeni Malkin and the Russian forward beat Rinne making it a 3-0 hockey game heading into the first intermission.

The Penguins and Predators each managed nine shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes of play.

Peter Laviolette elected to pull Rinne to begin the second period as Juuse Saros stepped into the crease.

With the goalie change things didn’t get any better for the Predators however. Just over a minute into the frame, Conor Sheary beat Saros making it 4-0. The Penguins weren’t done there, not even close really, as things continued to trend completely downward for Nashville.

With 11:58 left in the second frame, Phil Kessel found the back of the net for the first time this series making things 5-0.

The Penguins ended up scoring three goals in the second frame just as they did in the first as Ron Hainsey netted his second of these playoffs poking home the puck after receiving a strong pass from Malkin.

The Penguins led the shots on goal category 19-15 after two periods of play. Pittsburgh had a total of 25 shot attempts during 5-on-5 play while Nashville managed 23.

The final frame was the one and only that didn’t feature a goal, but it did have a number of penalties. Pittsburgh was whistled for a total of seven penalties while Nashville had 11.

For the Predators, Viktor Arvidsson and Austin Watson each picked up game misconducts while Colton Sissons was given a match penalty late in the period as tempers flared.

The Preds out shot the Penguins 9-5 in the third period.

Box Score

Fancy Stats

Nashville will look to force a Game Seven on Sunday night as Game Six is set for 7:00 p.m. CST.

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