Health of Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis still in question


The Pittsburgh Penguins scored early, often and seemingly at will Thursday night in a 6-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at PPG Paints Arena.

The defending champions provided an emphatic and repeated reminder of what makes them such a hard out in a 6-0 demolition of the Nashville Predators in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final to take a 3-2 lead. Crosby added his third helper on Phil Kessel's first goal of the final.

With one more win in which they finish with fewer shots than their opponent, the Penguins will tie their 1990-91 team for most playoff victories with that criteria - the 1990-91 team went 10-4 when outshot and 5-4 when ahead in shots, while the current team is 9-8 and 5-1, respectively.

The Predators know exactly what they need to do better against Pittsburgh.

What separates Crosby is an ability to raise his play in lockstep with the stakes. P.K Subban had a death grip on Crosby's leg, which was cause for a minor penalty.

Crosby and Subban haven't shared much ice time at even strength in the series, directly opposing each other for less than 22 minutes.

Think about it: here's the best player in the game punching another dude's head into the ice, and no one is doing anything to stop it. I know it ends up on the ice but I wouldn't start throwing water bottles at this point. "I'm not sure. I disagree with the call". He and Crosby grappled behind the Penguins' net during the first period of Game 5, with Crosby repeatedly grinding his right fist into the side of Subban's prone head.

For Sullivan, the main improvement he's seen defensively is the team's play away from the puck in defending the Predators, which has in turn helped to limit them some and to play with the puck more.

Nashville's blue line is deep, but Ellis has been a productive player with five goals, 13 points and an average of 24:01 in ice time.

Game 6 is Sunday night in Nashville.

Not Crosby, who said Subban "likes the attention" and "wants to make stuff up". "Not that I will".

The franchise has won all four of its Cups on the road. Nashville was trying to do with a good No. 1 center.

"Still a lot of work to be done but the way we played tonight, if we can build off that momentum, that's important", Crosby said after collecting three assists. Boy, did that void show up on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

While he was not forthcoming with information about the defenseman, he thought Sissons deserved to play in Game 6. Forward Colton Sissons cross-checked Olli Maatta in the face with 33.3 seconds remaining, and he received a match penalty for his actions. By rule, he is suspended from competition until the league decides he can return. On the road, he was 5-5 with a.913 save percentage and a 2.36 GAA. A shot by Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin 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. When Lemieux shot 29.3 percent in 1989, he generated seven of his 12 goals on the power play. Our guys have a tremendous amount of confidence him.

"It was just one of those games where they were going and we were trying to find it and didn't really get it going at any point", Rinne said. The Predators host Game 6 on Sunday evening at the same time that the annual CMA Music Festival holds its concert headlined by Keith Urban and Brad Paisley in nearby Nissan Stadium, the home of the Tennessee Titans. Nashville had never trailed in a series before the Final.

If Laviolette is looking for solace, here are two nuggets.