After the Penguins took a 3-2 series lead with a resounding 6-0 win in Pittsburgh in Game 5, the Final shifts to Nashville for Game 6 on Sunday, when the Preds will have the crowd - artificial or authentic - back on their side.
But facing a crucial fifth game at home Thursday night and needing to prove not just to the world but more importantly themselves that they weren't done after being outscored 9-2 in Nashville, the Penguins announced loudly that they are anything but done.
The series heads back to Nashville on Saturday night for Game 6, in which the Penguins can clinch their second straight Stanley Cup title.
Crosby, who finished the game with three assists, said it was accident after the game.
Conor Sheary, Phil Kessel - just as linemate Malkin predicted - and 35-year-old playoff newbie Ron Hainsey also scored for Pittsburgh. The Penguins chased Pekka Rinne with a three-goal barrage in the first period and kept it going against backup Juuse Saros to push the Predators to the brink of elimination for the first time during their run to the final.
"Well, I just think from the opening shift, you can see his drive and his appetite to win", Pittsburgh Coach Mike Sullivan told reporters.
"I think Sid really understands the opportunity that this team has, and he's not taking anything for granted", Sullivan said.
In a weird moment during Game 5, Crosby stood up on the bench to protest a missed penalty call - and he ended up throwing a water bottle onto the ice.
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. They host game six, which is scheduled for 01:00 BST on Monday.
NOTES: Crosby now has 20 career points in the Stanley Cup Final, a new franchise record and one more than team owner Mario Lemieux.
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They have played extremely well at home in the playoffs, but the defending champion Penguins have a chance to hoist the Stanley Cup again, and they are going to be focused regardless of the fact the Preds will get overwhelming support from their fans. A third trophy would just add to an already great legacy, one that will be remembered much more than how polarizing he can be in some games. One more Penguins victory and the series - and this city's championship dream - is over.
The Predators can take heart from that, given Game 6 is Sunday in Nashville. "I think everybody fed off that a bit as far as we were going to be aggressive and go and get it".
National Hockey League superstar Sidney Crosby and Nashville Predators defender P.K. Subban continued their feud Thursday when Crosby bounced Subban's head into the ice. "You know how the ice is going to play".
Crosby had this account: "He lost his stick, and he was doing some UFC move on my foot".
Crosby and Subban both got matching minor penalties for holding.
But this was a total team meltdown, and Nashville coach Peter Laviolette was careful not to place too much blame on his netminder when asked what he said to Rinne after a game like this.
"He lost his stick. I don't know what he was trying to do". "He was trying to hold me down". "I'm not sure. I disagree with the call". I was in some sort of lock there. "I saw my guy get his head cross-checked into the ice 10 times. He sees the opportunity in front of us, and he's doing everything within his power to try to help us be successful".
He added two more assists in the second period and now has 27 points this spring, one behind teammate Evgeni Malkin for the playoff lead. Like I said, there's coverage that's missed after that.
One of those teams was the Ottawa Senators, losers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final by a 7-0 margin to the Penguins.