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What nerves? Rookies making an impact in Stanley Cup Final

09 Juin 2017

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) tangles with Nashville Predators' P.K. Subban (76) during the first period in Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh.

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. Some wondered if Sullivan would turn to Marc Andre-Fleury, who has played in 15 games this postseason, serving as the starter when Murray was injured early in the playoffs.

NBC Sports reported an average of 4.23 million viewers through the first four games of the final, up 24 percent from a year ago.

It's all Penguins after the first period of Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

"My sense of being around Geno is that his priorities are just trying to help this team win and trying to accomplish our team goals, which ultimately is a Stanley Cup", Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said of Malkin.

Zoey Bates, of Toronto, has her face painted with Pittsburgh Penguins colors outside PPG Paints Arena before Game 5 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Final between the Penguins and the Nashville Predators, Thursday, June 8, 2017, in Pittsburgh. Rinne is remarkably resilient; he has allowed exactly one goal in each of Nashville's last four games after a defeat. He collected eight points in 24 games over that span, but never made it past the second round. "I think when our team plays that way, we're at our very best".

"'Desperate' is a amusing word for me because it gets thrown around our game a lot", Sullivan said.

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Only three games were decided by three goals or more in the Final over the previous five years.

Despite neither NASHVILLE (#29) nor Pittsburgh (#23) being a Top 20 TV market, the CONTEST was the second-most watched Game 4 on record (since 1994), behind only Boston-Chicago on NBC in 2013 (6.459 million), which are the #9 and #3 TV markets, respectively.

Maybe, but Nashville appeared a step quicker in its home building, pouring in nine goals and handing Penguins goalie Matt Murray the first back-to-back playoff losses of his young career.

It is 2-0 Pittsburgh less than seven minutes into Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final against Nashville. While they weren't almost as successful (by having not won a Cup), they have seen success by their own standards - reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

There's no chance, then, that they haven't stumbled across some historical stats that pop up during a playoff series. "Both teams have gone through it to this point, so any additional rest that both teams can get should make for a higher-quality game". Rinne stopped 50 of 52 shots he faced back home in Games 3 and 4.

How can the Preds pull off a win on the road? Save for a pair of flurries (one at the end of the first period in Game 1, the other at the beginning of the third period in Game 2) Nashville has been every bit Pittsburgh's equal. Wilson missed the first four games of the series with an unspecified lower-body injury.