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.
|Cambiasso: I didn´t fit in at Madrid because I wasn´t a galactico|
|Benzema eyeing more titles with Madrid|
|Mignolet ´really hungry´ for silverware with Liverpool|
|Spieth opens with 63 to lead Travelers|
|Ball stays in LA, goes to Lakers with number two pick|
|Philadelphia 76ers select Fultz with number one overall pick|
|Salah: Everything has improved since I left Chelsea|
|Low lauds ´excellent´ Stindl after Germany draw|
|Rangers swoop for Mexico duo Pena and Herrera|
|Confederations Cup Social Diary: Record man Sanchez shines as rivals fail to bury hatchet|
|Sanchez refuses to offer Arsenal future update|
|Confederations Cup Diary: Summer ´snow´ and Ronaldo mural explained|
|Widnes climb off the bottom with Leigh victory|
|Alexis Sanchez´s record-breaking goal ´very special´, says Pizzi|
|Chiefs part ways with Dorsey but give Reid an extension|
|Super Sanchez and Chile thwarted by Germany but World Cup ambitions firmly on track|
|Salah can win at the highest level with Liverpool, says Klopp|
|Hamilton focused on beating Ferrari, not driving for them|
|The life of a front player - Cameroon boss Broos reflects on Aboubakar horror show|
|Liverpool complete €42m Salah signing|
|Azarenka comeback halted by Konjuh in Mallorca|
|Germany 1 Chile 1: Stindl denies record-breaker Sanchez|
|Cameroon identified Ryan weakness, Zambo Anguissa reveals|
|Svitolina doubtful for Wimbledon after Birmingham exit|
|Lonzo Ball makes case for LeBron James to join him on Lakers|
|Hamilton clarifies F1 retirement talk|
|Real Madrid reject Mourinho contract allegations|
|Alexis Sanchez becomes Chile´s all-time top goalscorer with Germany strike|
|Querrey ousts giant-killer Thompson as Cilic powers on|
|Garcia two behind surprise package Ormsby in Munich|
|Shaqiri to Roma? Stoke have ´no plans´ to sell|
|Federer reaches last eight in Halle, injury concern for Nishikori|
|Bad moon rising for Postecoglou as Australia stumble again|
|Day´s struggles continue, McIlroy back in the red|
|Mexico v Russia: Cherchesov ready for ´final´ with last-four spot at stake|
|Cameroon 1 Australia 1: VAR in the spotlight again as Socceroos claim controversial point|
|Mainz sign Germany keeper Adler|
|Dennis opted out of Tour de France selection|
|Man Utd target Morata sets out aim for ´busy´ 2018|
|Vettel: Ferrari deserve more credit for bridging Mercedes gap|
|Balotelli ´ready to make financial effort´ for Nice stay|
|Santos staying positive as Lucas Lima to Barcelona rumours swirl|
|Arsenal extend Asano´s Stuttgart loan|
|Lorenzo hoping to be remembered fondly after retirement|
|Raiders make Derek Carr richest player in NFL history with contract extension|
|Halep accepts Eastbourne wildcard|
|Afghanistan and Ireland confirmed as Full Members by ICC|
|New Zealand v Portugal: Pepe urges Selecao to be faithful to their style|
|Super League promotion for 21-year-old referee|
|No negotiations with Barcelona for Dembele - Dortmund´s Zorc|
|Lealiifano returns under 12 months on from cancer diagnosis|
|Team Sky name strong Tour de France support act for Froome|
|F1 Raceweek: Bottas pressed on 2018 drive, Ocon and Perez make up|
|World Cup in Russia will be safe and successful, vows sports minister|
|Kazan mayor promises World Cup Messi mural to rival Ronaldo´s|
|China U20s set to play in German league|
|Nishikori retires from Halle clash with Khachanov|
|Dortmund defender Guerreiro´s injury downgraded to bruising|
|Ducuing to make first France start, Plisson and Dulin return|
|Shanghai SIPG star Oscar handed eight-game ban|
|Ireland hand first starts to Tracy and Treadwell|
|Cavani one of best strikers on planet - Di Maria|
|Guerreiro confirms fracture, ruled out of Confederations Cup remainder|
|He´s human we´ve all been there - Rojas defends New Zealand skipper Wood|
|Kasper Schmeichel at Man Utd would be ´a dream´ for dad Peter|
|Borussia Dortmund move for Barcelona wonderkid Lee|
|Worry is a wasted emotion - Hansen not concerned by Lions challenge|
|New Zealand´s Ronchi announces international retirement|
|Barcelona move for Vitinho approved by Palmeiras boss Cuca|
|Leipzig will not let ´top performers´ Forsberg and Keita leave|