If goals carried over in aggregation, the Penguins would be sitting pretty. A 7-0 massacre of the Senators in Sunday’s Game 5 meant the defending Stanley Cup champions are one win from becoming finalists once again, having outscored their opponent a whopping 16-5 in the Eastern Conference finals.
Ottawa, though, has managed to suffocate the NHL’s highest-scoring offense enough for an opportune pair of wins.
Therein lies a glimmer of hope for the underdog Sens, who are decidedly banged up and demoralized after the beatdown but not yet eliminated and perfectly capable of pushing this series to an all-decisive seventh game. It won’t be easy now the Penguins, injuries notwithstanding, seem to be hitting their stride.
Pittsburgh brought the house and with it saw the return of a balanced scoring attack with 11 different players entering the scoresheet Sunday.
The Penguins’ greatest competitive advantage is the luxury of deploying two of the world’s most talented players on separate lines. The discrepancy down the middle — Nashville will be without No. 1 center Ryan Johansen for the balance of the series — is Pittsburgh’s to exploit. A 1-2 punch of Colton Sissons, his Game 6 scoring binge notwithstanding, and Mike Fisher will have trouble keeping up with Crosby and Malkin.
Yet the Predators possess the defensive ability to negate anything the Penguins throw their way.
“We just beat a really good team that was a defense-first team, always had numbers back, tried to limit opportunities off the rush, and had more of a counterattack mindset,” Pittsburgh Hockey Cheap Jerseys coach Mike Sullivan said. “What I love about our group is I believe we have the Kids Basketball Jerseys Cheap type of team that can have success against our opponent regardless of who our opponent it is. We have to take what the game presents.”