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Pens not shaken by Preds' surge

17 June 2017

He also moved into 20th all-time in National Hockey League playoff points but the Predators clamped down after that.

It was supposed to be a nice story, a Southern City embracing its hockey team during an improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final, with all those stars in the stands - including Carrie Underwood, the wife of Predators captain Mike Fisher - and those country singers parading onto the ice to sing the national anthem (although not very well), followed by a few flying catfish landing on the ice. Yet Penguins coach Mike Sullivan hardly seems frustrated heading into Game 5 on Thursday night back home in Pittsburgh.

A shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Justin Schultz gets past Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) for a goal during the first period of Game 5 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh. These are our key players, and they need to be more consistent than they've been in games three and four.

Would you rather listen to the same 10 clichés that we usually get in hockey interviews or have a good laugh at a colourful comment?

Murray gave up four goals in the first two home games but eight goals in two losses in Nashville.

"We made mistakes in front of him", Laviolette said. "We're going home and we're going to be re-energized".

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This was a different Pittsburgh team than we had seen in the series - and that included the wins in Games 1 and 2. This has allowed the Nashville Predators to even the series going into Game 5.

Crosby, who scored Pittsburgh's only goal, finished the game with four shots.

History should also tell us all not to count Nashville out in this one. The goal came after he was held without a shot for only the fifth time in his career in the playoffs. A bettor would have to wager $155 to earn a profit of $100 if the Penguins win the game. We know it's an exciting challenge.

It was a familiar showing for Rinne. Kessel had two shots on goal in Game 4 and three in Game 3 but was a minus-2 in each game. That led to a pair of Penguins wins. He got the surprise start in the Penguins' first playoff game when Murray was injured in warmups.

Wilson took part in the team's morning skate at PPG Paints Arena and came off before P.A. Parenteau, who said he would not play. "All we can do is learn from it and go and get better". Not one series went to a seventh game, and they even swept the Blackhawks.

The Penguins defensemen played -put nicely- terrible, in Game 4. "I think these guys are ultimately driven to win championships".

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Sydney Crosby was the lone bright spot for the Penguins with his first period tally that he received an assist on from the post but that was it for the Pens attack.

The Penguins got one more past the Predators netminder in the first period, on Malkin's 3-0 tally with 11 seconds to play.

The Penguins capped off their offensive rally with their sixth goal with 3:20 left in the second period. Viktor Arvidsson, who popped a career-best 31 goals in the regular season, scored only third goal of the playoffs Monday to snap a 15-game drought.

Just as it would have with Laviolette replacing Rinne, Sullivan taking Murray out of the crease would probably reek of desperation at this point. When coach Mike Sullivan has the last personnel change at home, he can spot his most risky offensive players against Nashville's third defense pair much more easily. "I thought I was pretty good in Game 4", the 23-year-old Murray said Wednesday.

Before Thursday night's game, the crowd showed their support for their Pittsburgh Penguins before they battled the Nashville Predators in a pivotal Stanley Cup Final game in some unique ways.

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