Penguins Crush The Predators 6-0, Take 3-2 Series Lead

Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final was not pretty, nor was it fun for hockey fans to watch. By the end of the 1st period the Penguins were up 3-0 and the Predators couldn’t catch-up ultimately losing 6-0.”It wasn’t good” Predators Coach Peter Laviolette said after the game. “It was not the period we were looking for, and it really didn’t get much better after that. Definitely things we could have done better defensively.”

For fans of fisticuffs they were in for a treat because there were at least 3 line brawls in the third period.  The Penguins defended the net (unlike the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night), the Pens win marks the 12th time since 1939 that the home team has won each of the first five games of the Stanley Cup Final.

It was a good nigh statistically for the home team. Rookie Jake Guentzel (13-8–21) tied the NHL record for points by a rookie in the postseason. Guentzel had the secondary assist on a goal by Conor Sheary just over a minute into the second period. “I just think Jake’s a really good hockey player,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “He’s got great hockey sense. He’s a competitive guy. I think he has a quiet confidence about him. He knows he’s a good player. He knows he can help this team win.”

Sidney Crosby had three assists to reach 27 points (eight goals, 19 assists) this postseason. “There’s still a lot of work to be done,” Crosby said, “but I like the way we played tonight.” Crosby’s three assists, put him at 20 Stanley Cup Final points, most in Penguins history, one more than Mario Lemieux. “I don’t think I’ve ever been around an athlete as driven as Sid is.” Sullivan said on Crosby

The team that has won Game 5 after a split of the opening four games of the Final has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 17 of 24 times since the series adopted the best-of seven format in 1939. However, the club that has lost Game 5 has rebounded to win the series in four of the past eight such occasions.

The Stanley Cup Final will require at least six games for the ninth time in the last 10 years and 15th time in the past 18 seasons.
The team that has won Game 5 after a split of the opening four games of the Final has gone on to capture the Stanley Cup 17 of 24 times since the series adopted the best-of seven format in 1939. However, the club that has lost Game 5 has rebounded to win the series in four of the past eight such occasions.

Here is the transcript of Penguins Head Coach Mike Sullivan’s post-game interview.

Mike, after the game Bryan Rust made reference to a couple of adjustments you guys asked the players to make. Do you think tonight’s success was largely a result of following whatever you guys had asked them to do or was this more about raw execution on the players’ part?

MIKE SULLIVAN: I just think it’s about our players. I think our players had a will to win. And when they play inspired hockey the way they did tonight and execute the way we did tonight, I think we’re a competitive team and we’re a dangerous team. So I give our players so much credit for their preparation, their determination. And listen, everybody realizes the importance of this one, and so I think our players deserve a lot of credit.

I’ve seen Sidney Crosby do a lot of sensational things over the years, but the couple times in these Playoffs he’s had starts like he had tonight where it almost looked like he was establishing that his will was going to be on this game. When in coaching him did you sort of get a feel for what allows him to do that?

MIKE SULLIVAN: Early on. You know, early on. You can see his desire in his day-to-day approach. And I’ve said this on so many occasions: What I’ve really grown to admire and respect about Sid is not only is he a talented player, because there’s a lot of talented players; I just think he has such a drive to be the best, and he’s willing to do what it takes. He doesn’t just show up to the rink and put his equipment on. He controls everything within his power to be the very best. He controls his diet. He lives the right way. His off-ice habits are exceptional.

Building off of your point, how did Sidney Crosby set the tone for your entire team early on in this game? MIKE SULLIVAN: Well, I just think from the opening shift. You can see his drive and his appetite to win. He sets the tone right off the bat. We get a power play, we score on the power play. I think when you can start a game that way, it puts a team on their heels. It gives our team momentum that I think allows us to build on. So I think that’s an indication of his leadership and his will to win, and so, you know, I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has, and he’s not taking anything for granted. He’s as driven an athlete as I’ve seen. He’s as hungry as I’ve seen a player, and I just — I think he — I just think he understands it. He sees the opportunity in front of us, and he’s doing everything within his power to try to help us be successful.