Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

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Sidney Crosby has the Pittsburgh Penguins on the verge of back-to-back Stanley Cups.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Pekka Rinne is a friendly, polite man off the ice. Guentzel's assist moved him into a tie with Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for the most playoff points by a rookie in National Hockey League history (21).

PITTSBURGH (AP) - The night started with a catfish throw.

A holding penalty on Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis 50 seconds in gave the Penguins the power play. The final score tied for the seventh-biggest blowout in Cup Final history.

Rust made it 2-0 just 6:43 into the game with a nasty backhand flip over Rinne's glove. "Two teams that skate well up and down the ice", Rinne said Wednesday from the team hotel.

After back-to-back losses, Murray is 5-0 with a 1.77 goals-against average and.939 save percentage.

Only three games were decided by three goals or more in the Final over the previous five years. Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel were among the six different goal-scorers for the Penguins, who are now one win away from becoming the first repeat Cup victor in nearly 20 years.

The Penguins are 1-4 in their last 5 road games, 15-4 in their last 19 Sunday games and 1-4 in their last 5 games playing on 2 days rest.

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All four of Pittsburgh's Stanley Cups have been clinched on the road with Chicago the last team to win the Cup on home ice back in 2015. But they'll have to win again in Pittsburgh next week to lift the Stanley Cup. However, because the Penguins qualified for the 2016 postseason, the one that kicked in reads as such (according to Sportsnet): If Pittsburgh qualifies for the 2016 post-season, Toronto will receive the Penguins' 2016 first-round draft pick; and the Penguins will receive Toronto's 2016 second-round selection. Rinne has allowed 11 goals on 45 shots this series in games at PPG Paints Arena and is 0-3 in those contests. Not to discriminate, but Pittsburgh scored on the first shot on Predators backup Juuse Saros in the second period.

Schultz, Bryan Rust, Malkin, Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel and Ron Hainsey scored the Pittsburgh goals.

Yet there's been no question that Rinne, who has never won a start in Pittsburgh, will be in net Sunday night. Pittsburgh's stars, as they are known to do, victimized the Predators, who shrunk in response. "I think they understand how these series go and how, from one game to the next, we have to reset the mindset and just be ready to play that game right in front of us". "We know we're going to be facing a desperate team". Kessel ended a six-game goal drought 8:02 into the second.

Roman Josi says his defensive partner obviously is a huge part of the Predators' defense.

The Predators are 9-1 at home in the playoffs, a place they will need to be a haven once again if they want to extend their improbable Cup run - and a flat-out odd final - back to Pittsburgh. Bonino has been out of the lineup since a leg injury in Game 2. In all, it was the Penguins' most complete effort of the series by a mile. His totals over three years has him averaging more goals, assists and points per game with the Penguins than he did in Nashville. "And when they do that, they're hard to defend".

Normally when the Stanley Cup Final is in full swing the hockey world is focused on the outcomes of games and news surrounding the two clubs involved.

"We know we can be a lot better", Predators' captain Mike Fisher said.