Predators on brink as Rinne struggles again in Pittsburgh

Nashville Predators fans cheer in the final moments of the third period in Game 4 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday in Nashville Tenn. The Predators won 4-1 to tie the series 2-2

After two straight losses in Nashville, Pittsburgh blitzed the Predators with three goals in the first period to chase goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Between that and Crosby's childish toss of a water bottle onto the ice during play, he effectively diminished a special performance.

Subban has two assists and 13 penalty minutes in the series, while Crosby has a goal, a series-high six assists, and six penalty minutes for the defending champions. On the other hand, they're just two victories away from the first Stanley Cup in franchise history. If he can't go in Game 6, the Predators will face much longer odds.

"It's not really something I think about at all, to be honest", said Murray, who took over for Fleury midway through the Eastern Conference final.

"He lost his stick, and he was doing some UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship] move on my foot", Crosby said. He and Subban have been embroiled in an epic Listerine controversy after Subban alleged that Crosby told him his breath smelled during Game 3 and Crosby later denied it.

"I got lucky and got one", Kessel said.

The Penguins' power play had been 1-for-16 in the series and 0-for-13 over the previous three games. I just think what separates him is his drive. Since he comes to the games in extravagant suits and plays every game passionately, he's often been labeled as a "cocky" player and as one of the league's best defensemen that have made questionable plays in the past, he's labeled as a "dirty" player. "I don't know that I've been around an athlete, not just a hockey player, but an athlete that is as driven as Sid is".

Crosby tried to make light of the situation, saying: "I've got a better arm than that anyway".

The Predators appeared overwhelmed by the magnitude of Game 5.

Just 91 seconds after a Nashville fan flipped a catfish onto the PPG Paints Arena ice - a move that came shortly before a three-goal outburst by Nashville in Game 1 - Schultz powered home a slapshot to end an 0-for-15 power-play skid.

A possible Sissons suspension: Though it seems unlikely, the Predators may be missing another center for Game 6.

The series of unfortunate events continued for Rinne, with Penguins winger Bryan Rust roofing a backhander at 6:43 and Evgeni Malkin zipping one top corner with 11 seconds remaining in the opening frame.

On the ensuing power play, Crosby set up Schultz for a slap shot that went under Rinne's pads for a 1-0 Pittsburgh lead 1:31 into the first. "I saw my guy's head get cross-checked into the ice 10 times". He almost scored on a ferocious drive, squeezing past two defenders and ringing a shot off the post as he was being dragged down by Ryan Ellis.

"I don't understand the call", he said. "Definitely things we could have done better defensively". He now has 27 points in 23 games this postseason. On Thursday night, the chirps between the two advanced to physicality when they got tangled behind the goal line, and Crosby pushed Subban's head into the ice several times.

"I thought I was OK in Game 3, obviously not great, but I thought I was pretty good in Game 4", Murray said after practice on Wednesday. Kessel ended a six-game goal drought 8:02 into the second.

And apparently not taking any more stuff from Subban either.

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