(Reuters) – The Penguins thrashed Nashville 6-0 in Pittsburgh on Thursday in a dominant Game Five victory that wrestled back control of the Stanley Cup Final series.
After two straight losses in Nashville, Pittsburgh blitzed the Predators with three goals in the first period to chase goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Six different Penguins found the net as the home team seized a 3-2 advantage in the best-of-seven series, which shifts back to Nashville on Sunday.
The Penguins will have the chance to become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.
Sidney Crosby had three assists while Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin got on the scoreboard in the opening period.
“I think we’re just moving our feet,” Crosby told reporters. “When you’re moving your feet and you’re creating turnovers, you’re quick to pucks – there’s opportunities there.
“I think just like everybody. We did a good job of that and got rewarded for it.”
Crosby also showed ferocity in the opening period when he got tangled up with Nashville’s P.K. Subban during a scrum. Both Crosby and Subban received minor penalties for holding.
Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin got on the scoreboard in the opening period for the Penguins.
The home side added three more scores in the second where Phil Kessel notched his first goal of the Finals, with Conor Sheary and Ron Hainsey adding to the Penguins’ tally.
“I got lucky and got one,” Kessel said. “You just keep shooting and hopefully one goes in. Whenever you are able to put a lot of points on the board it’s a good night.”
Pens goaltender Matt Murray recovered from his tough time in Nashville to make 24 stops in the shutout. Rinne was lifted after allowing three goals on nine shots, while his replacement Juuse Saros surrendered three on 15 shots.
“You move forward here, you learn from it and we’ll be a lot better in our home rink,” said Predators forward James Neal.
“We have to be. We’ll be fine.”
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Sudipto Ganguly)