NBC Sports Group continued its coverage of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final tonight on NBC, with the Pittsburgh Penguins hosting the Nashville Predators from PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pa. The Penguins won Game 5 by a score of 6-0, as defenseman Justin Shultz scored Pittsburgh’s first goal of the night, and the Penguins followed with five additional unanswered goals by RW Bryan Rust, C Evgeni Malkin, LW Conor Sheary, RW Phil Kessel, and D Ron Hainsey.
Pittsburgh now leads the Stanley Cup Final 3-2, and can become the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the 1997-1998 Red Wings. Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET on NBC in Nashville, with pre-game coverage beginning at 6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.
Five-time Emmy Award-winning play-by-play commentator Mike ‘Doc’ Emrick, U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame member and analyst Eddie Olczyk, and Emmy Award-winning Inside-the-Glass analyst Pierre McGuire called Game 5 tonight from Pittsburgh. This marks the 11th consecutive year that Emrick, Olczyk and McGuire have combined to call the Stanley Cup Final for NBC Sports Group.
Coverage began on NBCSN at 6 p.m. ET with NHL Live. Kathryn Tappen anchored pre-game coverage alongside analysts Jeremy Roenick and Anson Carter. In addition Brian Boucher spoke with Predators RW Craig Smith, while Paul Burmeister interviewed Penguins F Jake Guentzel, Stanley Cup Champion and Penguins Defensemen Coach Sergei Gonchar, as well as Finnish play-by-play announcer Antti Makinen. Tappen and Roenick interviewed Predators GM and President of Hockey Operations David Poile. Edward Burch, of NBC affiliate WSMV in Nashville, reported live from the Predators watch party taking place outside Bridgestone Arena.
Tonight’s pre-game coverage featured segments on Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan, Predators G Pekka Rinne, and Predators C Frederick Gaudreau.
Coverage shifted inside the arena at 7:30 p.m. ET with host Liam McHugh, who was joined by analysts Mike Milbury and Keith Jones.
Milbury: “This had to shake Nashville a little bit, but they will bounce back. I worried about Pekka Rinne. There is not going to be talk about replacing him as the starting goaltender, but there will be questions marks.”
Jones: “The Ryan Ellis injury, when he left this game in the second period, is a major story line going into the next game. Ellis is a big part of the Predators defense, and his health could be a factor going into the next game.”
Emrick: “It will be Sunday night, 8 o’clock ET for Game 6. The Stanley Cup will be there, and they dress it up really nice. On a glittering night in Nashville, Predators fans hope it will not be handed out.”
Olczyk: “It’s thinned out dramatically at the Predators watch party in Nashville.”
Olczyk: “Total domination by the Penguins.”
Milbury on Crosby: “He has been absolutely brilliant. We saw how good he can be in Game 4, but he has taken it to an entirely different level tonight. Every time he touches the puck, he’s looking to make something dramatic happen, and more often than that he does. Every time you looked at him, he was making a spectacular play.”
Jones: “Just a fabulous performance. A clutch performer that we have always known him to be.”
McGuire: “It’s utter domination by the Penguins.”
Emrick on goal by Conor Sheary with 18:41 left in the period: “Birthday number 25. Goal number two in the playoffs. Connor Sheary’s second goal of the series.”
McGuire: “Magic again tonight from number 87 in black and gold.”
Olczyk on the water bottle thrown onto the ice by Sidney Crosby: “As the play goes up the ice, someone from the Penguins bench air mails a water bottle on to the ice. You could easily stop play and call the penalty there. It didn’t seem like it traveled very far, but that can’t happen.”
Emrick: “You’re absolutely right. How does a water bottle come on to the ice from the bench?”
Olczyk: “It doesn’t matter. It should have been a penalty.”
Emrick: “First off. Why does someone with a 4-0 lead throw something from the bench? And secondly, how is it missed?”
McGuire on Penguins: “They know they have a wounded animal in the Nashville Predators, and they’re making them pay with a pound of flesh every time they hit them.”
Milbury: “The author of the script of the first period, which was all Penguins, was none other than Sidney Crosby. It was a perfect start.”
Jones: “The Penguins fans came out tonight and were ready to get things going. The Penguins did just that. The fans here in Pittsburgh have brought their A-Game.”
Olczyk on Sidney Crosby’s hit on P.K. Subban with 1:34 left in the first period: “I wonder how his breath was on that play? That’s what you call ‘giving him the business.’”
Olczyk: “One of the reasons why it has been an adventure so far this game. Pekka Rinne loves to play the puck, but it has been a battle for him. One thing Rinne does when he plays the puck and is very active, he cheats. He leaves that net very soon. So if I’m the Pittsburgh Penguins, I’m going to play the old bait-and-switch. I’m going to look like I’m going to shoot the puck around the boards, and instead just fire it at the net. Rinne is trying to do way too much right now.”
Emrick: “Now that the antiseptic and catfish are memories for us, let’s focus on two wonderful teams. Two captains, who have performed well doing what they do best for four games. Two rookies, who have scored all of the winning goals so far. Two goaltenders, who have had two dynamic games and two that were not. Just a little brain candy to chew on before the start of the game.”
Pre-Game on NBC (8 p.m. ET)
Milbury: “They are the new darlings of Nashville. It’s now the country music superstars that are coming to Predators games, and not vice-versa. Everybody in the city has rallied around them.”
Milbury: “Pittsburgh is a little bit spoiled over the course of the years, with the number of Stanley Cups in the last decade and century, but I think we will see an energetic crowd here tonight. Pittsburgh has somewhat of an expectation that they should win, maybe a feeling of entitlement that they should win.”
NHL Live on NBCSN (6-8 p.m. ET)
Roenick: “He’s Sidney Crosby. He’s the best player in the world. When you need a big game from your star, Sidney Crosby knows how to get it done.”
Milbury on Penguins: “This is a big game for them. If they don’t win this game tonight, I don’t think they come back from Nashville.”
Jones on Matt Murray: “It’s an important game for him. If the Penguins lose this game, and he doesn’t play well, or falters just a little bit, Marc Andre Fleury is a legitimate option to go to in Game 6.”
Carter on Pekka Rinne: “A lot of the saves he has made this series are through sheer will and second effort. He throws his body at the puck and puts himself on the line. That’s the kind of inspirational play the Predators need from their goaltender… to come in and win against Pittsburgh.”
Boucher on Frederick Gaudreau: “He was thrust into a situation where he really had to deliver or else this team was going to be in trouble. And Fredrick Gaudreau has delivered. This guy has some smarts. He has a high hockey IQ and knows where to go to score goals.”
Keith Jones: “You can see and hear the fans here in Pittsburgh have stepped it up yet another notch. They received the message from the fans in Nashville and are ready to bring it to another level tonight.”
Carter: “There is no question the Nashville Predators have an advantage at home. The real question is, can they win on the road. The Pittsburgh Penguins don’t have to win on the road to win the Stanley Cup Final, but the Nashville Predators do.”