The Pittsburgh Penguins are a win away from a second straight Stanley Cup success after a 6-0 thrashing of the Nashville Predators.
The Penguins took a 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Final largely thanks to Sidney Crosby and the energised play of a few other previously slumping stars on Thursday.
The scoring started early when, on the power play, Crosby dished to Justin Schultz, who fired a shot from the point that beat Pekka Rinne just 91 seconds into the game.
It snapped a 0-for-11 slump for the Penguins' man advantage and was their first five-on-four goal of the series.
Pittsburgh went up 2-0 up five minutes later on a goal by Bryan Rust and Evgeni Malkin netted a backbreaker with 11 seconds remaining in the first period.
Though there were 40 minutes to go, Malkin's goal spelled the end of Rinne, whose Pittsburgh demons returned after allowing three goals on nine shots.
Meanwhile, the Penguins' key contributors came to life. Phil Kessel, without a goal since May 21, netted number eight these playoffs, just as Malkin predicted.
Conor Sheary and Ron Hainsey also scored in the second period as Pittsburgh put the game out of reach. Malkin, Crosby and Kessel combined for eight points in the victory.
Matt Murray also was stellar in net for a 24-save shutout, the third time in Cup history a rookie goalie blanked his opponent.
Ron Hainsey, Penguins – If Hainsey scores, you know it is going to be good. He of four regular-season goals netted his second of the playoffs in the second period, giving the Penguins their 6-0 lead. He also assisted the third goal for his first multi-point game since February.
Phil Kessel, Penguins – Kessel returned to form with a goal and two assists.
Sidney Crosby, Penguins – The Penguins fed off their captain from the get-go and Crosby finished with three assists, the 56th multi-point playoff game of his career.
Crosby and P.K. Subban got into a wrestling match toward the end of the first period. It all started when Crosby gave Subban a whack in the back with his stick while Subban navigated toward the Pittsburgh net. The two fell and Crosby pinned Subban down, repeatedly bashing his head into the ice. Subban was not a saint either, though, as he placed Crosby into a headlock as the two rose to their feet. The ordeal resulted in two-minute holding minors for both men, who headed for the locker room with 1:32 remaining in the period.
Malkin scored on the resulting four-on-four to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
|Ryder Cup has special place in Pep Guardiola´s heart, says Fleetwood|
|Mbappe ready to take over from Messi and Ronaldo, says Trezeguet|
|Molinari: Ryder Cup pressure far outweighs any major|
|Koepka heads PGA Tour´s Player of the Year nominations|
|Lampard: Mourinho still a great manager|
|United States and Europe reveal Ryder Cup practice groupings|
|Bulldogs´ fine for ´Mad Monday´ antics halved|
|Bennett to leave Broncos after 2019 NRL campaign|
|American League postseason picture becomes clear|
|Steelers edge Buccaneers for first win|
|Gatland wants Webb available for World Cup|
|Modric: Ronaldo, Messi out of this world but my season deserved recognition|
|Love says Cavs ´will surprise a lot of people´|
|George believes Thunder can compete for championship this season|
|Messi is the greatest ever – Eto´o|
|Messi to miss Argentina´s upcoming friendlies|
|Dolphins say Hayes tore ACL attempting to avoid roughing-the-passer penalty|
|Modric deserved FIFA Best award – Ramos|
|Thibodeau open to potential Butler trade|
|Modric wanted Ronaldo, Messi at awards ceremony|
|Brewers´ Yelich active after elbow hit|
|Anthony on coming off Rockets´ bench: Whatever I have to do to help this team win|
|Raiders coach Gruden says Mack trade was hard on players|
|Bale lauds ´unbelievable´ Modric after FIFA Best triumph|
|Ronaldo, Messi lacked respect with FIFA Best awards snub - Capello|
|New Zealand the benchmark but England can win World Cup - Mitchell|
|FIFA Best Award a dream come true for Modric|
|Lakers a long way from Warriors, warns LeBron|
|Milner pokes fun at Salah´s Puskas Award win|
|Josh Rosen to replace Sam Bradford as Cardinals starting quarterback|
|Kaymer: Home-course advantage crucial to Europe hopes|
|Marta and Pedros win FIFA Best awards|
|I want to be in Toronto - Kawhi Leonard focused on Raptors, not future|
|Messi and Ronaldo lead FIFPro World XI as Salah and Neymar miss out|
|Knicks´ Kristaps Porzingis ´itchy´ to return but won´t commit to 2018-19 season|
|Modric beats Ronaldo and Salah to FIFA Best prize|
|49ers confirm ACL tear for QB Garoppolo|
|Salah beats Bale and Ronaldo to Puskas Award|
|Deschamps wins FIFA Best Men´s Coach award|
|Law to leave Windies for Middlesex role|
|Sunderland terminate Ndong´s contract|
|Spalletti warns rejuvenated Inter against complacency|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Figo in town as USA arrive in style|
|Browns name Baker Mayfield starting QB|
|Chelsea need to be more versatile, warns Giroud|
|Paris Saint-Germain FFP case referred by UEFA back to CFCB Investigatory Chamber|
|Busy Bertens ready for bed, Muguruza gains Wimbledon revenge|
|Hart ready if England come calling - Dyche|
|Ryder Cup 2018: An honour and a burden - the unique challenge of captaincy|
|Hibino beats Bouchard again at the Tashkent Open|
|Falcons lose Ricardo Allen for season|
|Mbappe three-match ban stands following appeal|
|Tomic wins first Tour-level match since Wimbledon in Chengdu|
|Ryder Cup diary: Scoreboard shocker, captains tight-lipped|
|Mourinho will spawn lots of managers - Lampard|
|Furyk outlines Woods´ Ryder Cup motivation|
|Tiger doesn´t scare Team Europe - Bjorn|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Team USA profile|
|Woods winning ´incredibly special for golf´, says Poulter|
|Grealish commits to Aston Villa with five-year deal|
|Ryder Cup 2018: Four reasons why Team USA will win|
|Herrera ready for return - Mourinho|
|Bellew determined to prove doubters wrong against Usyk|
|Lewandowski and Boateng´s professionalism impresses Kovac|
|WATCH: Sheepish Murray comically drops commemorative plate in China|
|Cech: Arsenal have forgotten how to win Premier League titles|
|Lemar must adapt to Atleti style, says Simeone|
|Toulon to appeal suspended points penalty|
|AFE rejects Miami plan for Girona-Barca|
|Messi and Ronaldo to decide world´s best young player|