Home / frontsports / Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Preview/Prediction
Michael Miller

Stanley Cup Final Game 5 Preview/Prediction

Photo courtesy: Michael Miller


The Nashville Predators evened the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins at two games a piece, backed by their ridiculous home crowd and their beloved heroic goalie Pekka Rinne. While the Predators should feel confident heading into Game 5, they should also be weary of the Penguins, who have individuals that seem to be finding their groove. With Sideny Crosby looking like himself, Jake Guentzel on fire, and Patric Hornqvist and Evgeni Malkin showing more aggression, the Predators need to play better if they want a chance to seal up the cup at home.


Speed vs. Power is the underlying battle

Through four games, one thing is clear: This series is a battle of the Penguin’s power vs. the Predators’ speed. The Pittsburgh front line is built with real strength. Crosby is a fearsome center, while Hornqvist and Malkin are just as menacing. Hits come hard and the force on shots is strong. Meanwhile, the Predators are light and speedy. James Neal and Mike Fisher are fast and quick on the ice while defenders Josi and Subban are just as elusive on the back line. It's interesting to see how the two gameplays clash during the course of 60 minutes. In Game 1 and Game 2, Penguins overpowered the Predators defense with their force, especially goaltender Rinne. Defenders Ian Cole and Olli Maatta put fear in Predators offense, changing the shots they took. However, in Game 3 and Game 4 in Nashville, the Predators utilized their speed to capitalize on many fast break chances. It'll be interesting to see how Nasvhille can continue using their speed to gain an advantage against a slower defense, while Penguins can utilize their physicality and power to throw Rinne off guard again.


Rinne vs. Crosby showdown

Game 4 could have easily gone in favor of Penguins given the number of 1-on-1 shots they had, only scoring on one. Crosby had four chances to out match Rinne by himself, but only put one in the back of the net. Rinne pulled off a superhuman performance to keep the Predators in a winning position through the first two periods before the offense helped seal the win. Crosby has to believe that he can continue his aggressive play and take advantage of a surprisingly porous defense. Rinne needs to keep his confidence and anchor this team for one much-needed win in Pittsburgh. The Predators have to know that if they can pull a 3-2 lead in the series, the crowd could be a huge factor in a series-clinching Game 6. While Rinne had over 25 saves on Monday night, most of those required some luck and great flexibility. Tonight, Crosby will look to take the game early, trying to score in the first five minutes to bring in the Pittsburgh home crowd and momentum, and maybe take Rinne off his game.


Predators Offense has Found a Flow without Johansen

After the Predators lost Ryan Johansen to a devastating injury in the Western Conference Final, the Predators’ offense struggled to find a rhythm and find the goal. However the team finally looks like it's found it's groove. Mike Fisher has been speedy and all over the boards. James Neal is crafty with the stick and is able to create shots for himself that no one else on the Predators can. Viktor Arvidsson had a rejuvenating Game 4, and Frederick Gaudreau and  Pontus Aberg have been outstanding late season additions to the team. Gaudreau has scored three goals in the series so far, while Aberg has amassed a goal and many shots on goal. Given the Penguins defense that’s been weak as of late, the Preds need to take advantage in Game 5 if they want to pull a win.


Game 5 will decide the series

It’s diffucult to see Nashville losing a Game 6 if they pull a Game 5 win. That crowd and fan base has eclipsed anything seen in NHL. Like Seattle’s “12th Man” in the NFL, the Predators are really creating havoc and the “7th Man” is showing its presence. The Penguins have to know that they must keep home ice to win the series and the Preds must react and steal this game to win the Cup at home on Sunday. Both teams will come out swinging, but it will truly come down to goalie play. If Rinne keeps up his outstanding performance, then the Predators are hard to beat. Meanwhile, Murray needs to find his Game 2 groove, and behind his home crowd, he might just be able to pull enough for this potentially high scoring game to go in their way. Crosby and Malkin have been here before and will attack relentlessly. Keep an eye on the deeper shifts for the Predators, where they really gain a chippy attitude and create pressure on the Penguins.


Game 5 Prediction: Predators 5, Penguins 4

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *