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Penguins return home as betting favourites for Game 5

19 June 2017

The Penguins won the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final thanks in large part to a pair of three-goal flurries.

Coach Mike Sullivan confirmed after morning skate that he had chosen Murray over Marc-Andre Fleury. Even Games 3 and 4 Nashville haven't been especially competitive, with the Predators winning by scores of 5-1 and 4-1, respectively. Perhaps more prominently, it centers on Malkin, who has 26 points in the postseason but only two in his past five games and none since Game 2 of the Final.

Frederick Gaudreau scored his third goal of the final, while Calle Jarnkrok, Viktor Arvidsson and Filip Forsberg scored their first goal in what seemed like forever. I think we have to win a game. Another game like this and he won't just win a second straight Stanley Cup; he could also walk away with another Conn Smythe Trophy.

"We have no home ice [advantage]", Laviolette said. "The one comment I will make is that we didn't lose the game last night because of our goaltending". "So I think all those things are weighed to a point where hopefully good decisions are made".

For now, he insists he is happy enough just to sit on the floor as long as he plays. The home team has won each of the first four games of the Cup Final.

Malkin, the leading scorer in the playoffs (26 points), went pointless with only two shots in the two defeats and has been suffocated - all series really - by the Preds' menacing duo of P.K. Subban and Mattias Ekholm.

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Despite the fact they've carried play for large portions of this series - not allowing a single shot on goal for a 37-minute stretch in Game 1 - the Predators fell behind 2-0 in the series, after the Penguins were able to score eight goals combined against Rinne in Games 1 and 2.

No word on whether she'll supply another note for Thursday's pivotal Game 5 in Pittsburgh.

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. As Chris Harris of Nashville's NBC affiliate WSMV was setting the scene outside Bridgestone Arena, a couple chose to live in the moment and sucked face right on live television. Wilson missed the first four games of the series with an unspecified lower-body injury.

Bonino now boasts four goals and seven points through 21 postseason games, a step back from the 18 points in 24 games that he was able to put up during the team's successful championship run in 2016.

Murray has thrived in Pittsburgh, where the Penguins are 9-3 in the playoffs. "It's a grind. It's hard to get here, so when you do get here, you've got to make the most of it".

"Well, I think our guys are excited to play for a lot of reasons, but certainly we find a comfort level at home", head coach Mike Sullivan told reporters prior to Game 5.

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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins will have to keep being opportunistic - against probably the best defense and goalie combo they have seen in the playoffs - in order to repeat as the Stanley Cup champion.

Pekka Rinne's first year of full-time service for the Nashville Predators was 2008. The way Gaudreau has, scoring three goals in four final games. That's now how they got to the cusp off back-to-back titles. The Penguins scored only one goal in each of their losses in Games 3 and 4.

Rinne, who had also been pulled in Game 2 and has a.755 save percentage in the three Pittsburgh games, was replaced by Juuse Saros to start the second period.

"I enjoy it. We have a good group of kids and they don't feel like kids anymore after what they went through and what they did past year with Guentzel being the exception", Cullen said.

Kessel has played most of the playoffs on a line with Evgeni Malkin.

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Penguins return home as betting favourites for Game 5