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.
|RB Leipzig´s Demme escapes serious injury after reported Keita bust-up|
|Inter 1 Lyon 0: United target Perisic impresses as Jovetic nets winner|
|Leaving so soon? Cassano the latest in football´s long list of short stays|
|You´ll miss me! – Mbappe bids farewell to new Manchester City signing Mendy|
|I always wanted Manchester City, says new signing Mendy|
|Cassano quits Verona as saga takes another twist|
|FIR step in after Zebre pull out of Pro12|
|Manchester City spree continues with Mendy arrival|
|Dortmund rule out selling Sokratis to Juventus|
|Birkdale brilliance at The Open: Spieth´s Opta stats stack up|
|Milan coach Montella hopes Scudetto can become ´a concrete goal´|
|Martial is a defender´s nightmare, says Lingard|
|Pedro suffered facial fractures, Conte confirms|
|Rahul ruled out of first Test with viral fever|
|Bale gunning for more Real Madrid success as United speculation ends|
|Ancelotti rules out Vidal sale, Sanches departure ´a possibility´|
|Third Renault test for Kubica in Hungary|
|Van Dijk left out of Southampton´s pre-season trip|
|Froome can remain Tour force - Brailsford|
|Bernardeschi attends Juventus medical ahead of €40m switch|
|Bayern president labels big spending ´a sign of weakness´ amid Neymar rumours|
|Hunt blow for Wallabies, Cheika rules out Lealiifano call-up|
|I sent 10 messages a day - Montella pestered Milan chiefs to attempt Bonucci coup|
|Defoe dreaming of World Cup call-up|
|MLS Review: Timbers, Sounders claim important conference wins|
|Titans guard Tretola treated after getting ´grazed´ by bullet|
|Hall of Famer and first-ever Lakers head coach Kundla dies aged 101|
|Kluber dominant again, but Kershaw and Strasburg exit with injuries|
|Mexico 0 Jamaica 1: Late Lawrence stunner sinks defending champions|
|Vardy: I have no regrets after turning down Arsenal|
|Conte believes Fabregas could be key for Chelsea|
|Phelps loses to great white shark in virtual race|
|Open champion Spieth drinks from Claret Jug again|
|Kahne wins wreck-filled Brickyard 400 in overtime|
|Blanc: Difficult for Verratti to leave PSG|
|Mourinho praises Martial but wants consistency from United star|
|Morata backed for Chelsea success by Spanish duo|
|Zidane: I haven´t asked for a forward amid Mbappe links|
|Henry: Messi´s development not yet over|
|De Boer compares Zaha to Neymar|
|Neymar could take PSG to next level – Blanc|
|Real Madrid 1 Manchester United 1 (1-2 pens): De Gea proves his worth to Mourinho|
|Belotti scores in Torino win, Terry lifts bizarre Cup of Traditions|
|The ´guesswork´ behind Spieth´s stunning Open victory revealed|
|PSG cannot get Sanchez so they go for Neymar - Wenger|
|Murray wins Barbasol Championship for first PGA Tour title|
|Isner completes Hall of Fame hat-trick|
|De Rossi: Juventus have no weaknesses|
|WATCH: Froome spreads the love by helping with marriage proposal|
|Spieth: Nicklaus, Woods transcend the game... I´m nowhere near that|
|He´s staying - Pique eases Barcelona fears over Neymar|
|McIlroy staying patient in quest for more majors|
|Crushed Kuchar pays tribute to ´great champion´ Spieth|
|Teenage lucky loser Rublev crowned Croatia Open champion|
|I´m going to enjoy it more than I´ve enjoyed anything - Spieth savours Open glory|
|Ledecky claims another record-breaking gold, Sun shines in Hungary|
|Bordeaux to sign Arsenal flop Wellington Silva|
|Classy Spieth insists ´emotional´ Kuchar will win a major|
|Markovic free to leave Liverpool, says Klopp|
|The Open Diary: Umbrellas as distress beacons, inflatable palm trees and a lasso|
|Rampant Saints deny Wakefield top-four finish|
|Spieth´s legend forged by stunning Open resurrection|
|I´m over it - Spieth exorcises Masters demons with Open recovery|
|WATCH: Insane hailstorm leads to friendly cancellation|
|Golf´s Grand Slam winners: Open champion Spieth close to joining elite club|
|Froome seals fourth Tour de France title, Groenewegen sprints to victory|
|Stunning Spieth revival seals Open glory at Birkdale|
|BREAKING NEWS: Spieth turns things round spectacularly to win Open thriller|
|Shrubsole seals dramatic World Cup triumph for England as India capitulate|
|Terry lifts bizarre trophy as Aston Villa claim Cup of Traditions crown|