The score had been predicted by Malkin and it came just seconds after Crosby threw a water bottle onto the ice as the play went by Pittsburgh's bench, a move he told referees was unintentional. Even Ron Hainsey chipped in with a goal. The shot snuck through Pekka Rinne for the Penguins' first power play tally since Game 1.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby carved through the Predators' defense with an ease that should be unfair, assisting on half of his team's goals. This can be good news for the Penguins if center Nick Bonino, who took pre-game warmups but was unable to play in Game 4, can return to the lineup from a lower-body injury.
Crosby looked to be upset that there wasn't a penalty called on Nashville and sent a water bottle flying. The panic came back when the Senators scored late in the third period and forced overtime. The series is tied 2-2. For Game 1, Pittsburgh is a -165 moneyline favorite against the +145 underdog Predators with a 5.5-goal total.
"I got lucky and got one", Kessel said. Kessel ended a six-game goal drought 8:02 into the second.
It's the Stanley Cup Final, however, and there's usually not much that is simple when the National Hockey League season reaches this point. After Thursday, backup Juuse Saros probably doesn't care for it much, either. They knew they would be starting on the road in every series, and the Predators responded by winning the opener of their first three series. Rinne is remarkably resilient; he has allowed exactly one goal in each of Nashville's last four games after a defeat.
There is not as much riding on this year's Cup final as there was a year ago. He lasted just two shifts into the second period before he went to the bench in pain. At this point the only thing that seems certain for the Pittsburgh Penguins is that the Predators are going to put up a fight against whomever starts in net tonight.
History shows Game 5 is a telling one.
Pens goaltender Matt Murray recovered from his tough time in Nashville to make 24 stops in the shutout.
Here are five times this postseason you swore the Penguins were done (but they weren't). Phil Kessel, dormant for most of this series, had a goal and two assists. In 23 games Ward had a 2.14 goals against, making 22-of-23 saves in a Game 7 win against Edmonton.
Bryan Rust then doubled the Penguins' lead 6:43 into the first period, with a wicked backhander that fooled Rinne. It's his seventh goal of the playoffs.
"I thought I was OK in Game 3, obviously not great". They grabbed a 2-1 series lead by crushing the Penguins, 5-1, in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final.
"It's definitely a bit of a mental game", Wilson said of his current issues. The Penguins have played the entire postseason without their top defenseman. Heck, their worst players were better than the Predators' so-called best.
How will you be watching the game? "That hasn't changed", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said.
Colin Wilson is expected to play for the Predators after missing the first three games of the series. He posted a.920 save percentage in that series and a.923 save percentage in 21 playoff games last season.
After back-to-back losses, Murray is 5-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average and.939 save percentage. These are our key players, and they need to be more consistent than they've been in games three and four.
"If you've got a team that has momentum and a team that's got desperation, for me anyway, the scarier team is the one that's got desperation", Laviolette said. Nashville won its two at home by a combined 9-2. We got to be ready to be at our best.
"We've got to get one more win now", Schultz said. They also have a 123-91 shot lead in the Cup Final.
So the Predators limp back to Nashville for Game 6, facing elimination. After all, this isn't the first rodeo for these players of the thousands of fans who will gather inside and outside of PPG Paints Arena on Thursday.
It was as if after watching the Predators for four games, the Penguins were finally able to finally figure out their opponent's weak spot.
Sullivan announced the decision following the morning skate on Thursday by simply stating Murray's name when asked on the identity of his starter.