Pittsburgh Leads Stanley Cup Final 3-2; Nashville Must Win Sunday to Keep Hopes Alive
by Brooks Bratten @brooksbratten / Communications & Content Coordinator
It just wasn’t Nashville’s night.
The Predators surrendered six goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins as they fell by a 6-0 final in Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final. The result gives Pittsburgh a 3-2 series lead and puts the Preds on the brink ahead of Game Six, the first time they’ve faced elimination in these playoffs.
From the drop of the puck, Pittsburgh started on the attack, and as the Preds said in the locker room following the contest, they couldn’t find an answer for the defending champions.
“We felt like if we could get one, we could get back in it, and they just kept coming,” Nashville Captain Mike Fisher said. “We just had some breakdowns and mental lapses that cost us. It’s happened too much, especially in this building, but we’re going to turn the page on this one.”
Justin Schultz, Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin got three in the first period for the Penguins with Pekka Rinne pulled after 20 minutes in favor of Juuse Saros in goal. Pittsburgh added three more tallies in the second stanza, and a third period that included some snarl and frustration concluded a game that didn’t play out in Nashville’s favor.
“We know we have to be a lot better than that,” Fisher said. “They were coming, they were hungry and we have to return the favor here in a few nights.”
“You move forward here, you learn from it and we’ll be a lot better in our home rink,” forward James Neal said. “We have to be. We’ll be fine.”
The situation is simple now: to give themselves a chance, Nashville must win on Sunday night in a building where they’ve only suffered one loss in the 2017 postseason. And that’s what they plan to do.
“We know we can be a lot better,” Fisher said. “We’re going home, we’re going to be re-energized and our focus now has to be on that game and getting one win. This series is far from being over, there’s no question. We all know it.”
Colin Wilson returned to the Nashville lineup on Thursday after missing the first four games of the Stanley Cup Final due to injury.
Game Six of the Cup Final comes Sunday night in Nashville at Bridgestone Arena. If necessary, Game Seven would take place on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Various watch party locations will be set up throughout downtown Nashville for Game Six, for details on where to watch, and more on the game, click here.