What nerves? Rookies making an impact in Stanley Cup Final

For two straight games, the Penguins had struggled, at least on the score sheet.

Crosby was everywhere, in the midst of the fray, at a moment when the Penguins needed his leadership to reverse a two-game slide, in which the Predators ran them out of the rink in consecutive games at their home, the Bridgestone Arena. The best-of-seven series is tied 2-2.

Sidney Crosby scored his first goal in this Stanley Cup Final, but the Predators beat Pittsburgh 4-1 on Monday night to even the best-of-seven series at 2-2.

"He'll score. It's his time to score", Malkin said. The Pens are undoubtedly hoping that Sid the Kid's Game 4 tally will give him some momentum the rest of the way.

P.K. Subban says ask the Pittsburgh Penguins if he's getting under their skin. Now it's time for leadership to show in big games.

Laviolette is probably even more stoic than Sullivan, especially at the daily news conferences during the Final, but he said he does crack that veneer occasionally.

"I enjoy it. We have a good group of kids and they don't feel like kids anymore after what they went through and what they did past year with Guentzel being the exception", Cullen said.

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What nerves? Rookies making an impact in Stanley Cup Final
What nerves? Rookies making an impact in Stanley Cup Final

"We're confident our team will respond the right way, as they always have all season long", coach Mike Sullivan said of the Penguins, who have seen Phil Kessel and Bryan Rust mired in respective six-game goal droughts while former Predator Patric Hornqvist has failed to tally in his last five. He trails only Malkin and Crosby with 20 points this post-season and appears due to come through, posting maybe his finest game of the final in a Game 4 loss with eight attempts on goal.

The Penguins wasted little time to add onto the lead in the second period.

Pittsburgh is threatening to turn Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final into a rout.

Each starting goaltender in the Stanley Cup Final has experienced a two-game hiccup. He had lost his stick and was just trying to hold me down. We have four good lines, we have young guys, they fly, and I'm not exhausted myself. Rinne allowed three goals on nine shots. "I believe we have great leadership in our room".

Subban relishes playing against the man he calls the world's best player in Crosby, and he also has plenty of help from fellow defensemen Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm. He was shaky in the Penguins' 5-3 win in Game 1, pulled in the Penguins' 4-1 in Game 2, solid in the Predators' 5-1 win in Game 3 and brilliant, particularly in a game-saving, second-period performance in the Predators' 4-1 win in Game 4. "I think these guys are ultimately driven to win championships".

But the Predators' defenders made it tough because of how well they skated and how capable they were with the puck. The puck bounced up off Murray before he gloved it out of the air with 5:06 remaining in the second period and Predators forward Austin Watson skating toward the crease.

It was Malkin's 10th goal of the playoffs and his postseason-leading 27th point. The unit went 0-6 in the two defeats, but generated more in the latter loss. Nashville LW Colin Wilson returned from an undisclosed injury and made his Final debut. But in order for the Predators to win this series, Rinne will have to channel his Conn Smythe favorite and home play in Pittsburgh once for the Preds to lift the Cup.

Sullivan smiled and said being referred to as Penguins co-owner and Hall of Fame center Mario Lemieux "brightened my week". "I've got to put one of those away".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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