p.k. subban

Sidney Crosby 'dribbles' P.K. Subban's head on ice, throws things from bench

Sidney Crosby 'dribbles' P.K. Subban's head on ice, throws things from bench

The Pittsburgh Penguins took a commanding 3-2 lead in the Stanley Cup Finals over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night thanks in part to the effort of one Sidney Crosby.

But it wasn't just his fine play that helped the Penguins destroy Nashville by a final of 6-0. Crosby used his hands and roughed up P.K. Subban in what looked like a pretty dirty play. Oh, and he threw some stuff.

Here's how the AP described Crosby's night:

The two-time MVP's eventful night included becoming the franchise's all-time leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Final, a two-minute roughing penalty for trying to dribble Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban's head on the ice near the end of the first period and what he said was an inadvertent flip of a water bottle onto the ice during play.

I don't know about you, but "dribbling" a guys head on the ice does not sound like it would feel very good.

The dirty move brought all of the Crosby (and ref) haters out of the woodwork. I mean, just look at the play:

Both players received minor penalties.

Nashville coach Peter Laviolette was pretty unhappy about it following the game.

"I don’t understand it. I really don’t understand the call,” he said. “I saw my guy get his head cross-checked into the ice 10 times. I don’t even know what he did, P.K. I’m not sure. I disagree with the call."

Crosby wasn't done being a bad guy there. He was also caught throwing a water bottle onto the ice in the second period after a call he didn't like.

Then he tried to explain how he didn't throw it LOL:

"I made a gesture and it came flying out of my hand," Crosby said. "I didn’t try to throw it. I know it ends up on the ice, but I wouldn’t start throwing bottles at this point. I haven’t done it yet ... To be honest, I can’t even tell you the specific play, but I remember being surprised when it comes out of my hand."

So Sidney Crosby may be a Stanley Cup champion once again but he's also demonstrated exactly why entire cities of hockey fans despise him.

Stanley Cup Final: Predators answer P.K. Subban's guarantee, rout Penguins in Game 3

Stanley Cup Final: Predators answer P.K. Subban's guarantee, rout Penguins in Game 3

BOX SCORE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Pekka Rinne and the Nashville Predators are very hard to beat on their own ice this postseason, and now they have added their biggest piece of franchise history yet.

A victory in the Stanley Cup Final.

The embattled Rinne not only started, he made 27 saves. Roman Josi and Frederick Gaudreau scored 42 seconds apart in the second period, and the Predators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 Saturday night to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-seven series.

The Predators capped the biggest party in Nashville history with a victory that gave thousands of fans inside and outside of the arena reason to celebrate with even country star Keith Urban and wife, actress Nicole Kidman, high-fiving.

And credit Rinne for coming through with a very stingy performance and improving to 8-1 in Nashville this postseason.

The Predators call the 6-foot-5 Finn their backbone, yet critics wanted him benched after looking so shaky in the first two games in Pittsburgh giving up eight goals on just 36 shots. Coach Peter Laviolette benched him in the third period of Game 2 when Rinne gave up three goals in the first 3:28 of a 4-1 loss.

Josi also had two assists. James Neal, Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm also scored for Nashville as the Predators worked out some frustration against the Pens.

"Like our team has done the whole playoffs against Chicago, St. Louis, Anaheim, we showed really good composure," said Nashville defenseman P.K. Subban, who had predicted a win in Game 3. "We're going to take that into the next game."

Game 4 is Monday night.

"I thought we gave them a couple of freebies where we didn't force them to have to work for it and that's an area we've got to be better moving forward," Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan said. "We're disappointed we didn't get the result, but we also understand that this is a series. Our guys, they've been through this. They can draw on their experience. We're not going to let this certainly get us down. We're going to learn from it, move by it and get ready for the next game."

Jake Guentzel scored his 13th goal this postseason and fourth of this series for Pittsburgh and now is one off Dino Ciccarelli's rookie record of 14 in 1981 for Minnesota. Guentzel, already with two game-winning goals in the series, put the Penguins up 1-0 on their second shot with a wrister off a rebound of Ian Cole that beat Rinne just 2:46 into the game.

Rinne stopped the next 26 shots for the victory and the party continued into the night.

Laviolette stuck with Rinne after lots of questions about his goalie, though he did sit veterans Cody McLeod and Vern Fiddler to get more speed with Harry Zolnierczyk and P.A. Parenteau. Pittsburgh forward Carl Hagelin played for the first time with center Nick Bonino out after taking a Subban slap shot off his left foot in Game 2 that left him on crutches and in a walking boot.

Matt Murray extended his scoreless streak to 72:54 with the Pittsburgh goalie looking ready to notch his 21st playoff win. Then he gave up five goals in the span of 15 shots.

The Predators got it started with a three-goal flurry in the second.

Josi scored his sixth goal off a slap shot at 5:51, tying it at 1-1 and finally giving nervous fans something to enjoy. Then Gaudreau, who scored his first career NHL goal in Game 1, scored 42 seconds later to put Nashville ahead with his wrister from the high slot, taking advantage of a screen by Penguins defenseman Ian Cole to beat Murray glove-side.

Just after that go-ahead goal, the Penguins had a rush on Rinne, and the three-time Vezina Trophy finalist made back-to-back big saves. First, he stopped Phil Kessel's wrister from the right circle. The rebound bounced back into the slot, and Rinne made a save on Chris Kunitz with an assist from Subban sliding over to help.

Neal made it 3-1 with 22.6 seconds left in the second, banking the puck off Murray's left arm for his first goal in the series and sixth of the playoffs. Smith's goal on a breakaway at 4:54 was his first of the playoffs, and Ekholm padded the lead with a power-play goal with 6:50 left.

"We played some good hockey in those first two games, just a couple little breakdowns and they jumped all over us and it was in the back of the net," Neal said. "It was a good job of limiting that tonight."

As for Rinne, Neal added: "We felt we left him out to dry a few times in the last game. I thought we did a better job tonight."

Notes
Smith is the 18th different Nashville player to score a goal this postseason. ... The Penguins went 0 of 3 on the power play and now are 1 of 13 in this series. ... With an assist, Sidney Crosby now has 160 career playoff points (56 goals, 104 assists) and tied Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe, Bobby Smith and Al MacInnis for 20th all-time.

NHL Notes: P.K. Subban guarantees Predators will win Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final

NHL Notes: P.K. Subban guarantees Predators will win Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A good night's sleep has P.K. Subban more confident than ever about what the Nashville Predators will do on their own ice trailing the Pittsburgh Penguins 0-2 in the Stanley Cup Final.

He delivered an All-Star guarantee for Saturday night.

"There's no question," Subban said Thursday. "We're going to win the next game, and then we'll move forward."

Subban came very close to guaranteeing a win in the moments after Pittsburgh's 4-1 win Wednesday night. The Penguins turned a 1-1 game into a rout by scoring three goals in the first 3:28 of the third period , forcing Nashville coach Peter Laviolette to pull star goaltender Pekka Rinne for rookie Juuse Saros.

On Thursday, the All-Star defenseman channeled Mark Messier, who backed up his own guarantee of a Rangers' win against New Jersey in the 1994 Eastern Conference finals. Subban explained why he was so confident, noting the Predators know they deserve to be playing for the Stanley Cup.

"We're capable of playing even better than we did in Pittsburgh, and I thought we played some great hockey," Subban said. "I mean, out of 120 minutes, maybe we'd like to take back six of them. Ultimately, we have to be realistic with where we're at. We're down 2-nothing. We're coming back in our barn, and we don't lose here. So it starts Saturday" (see full story).

Sabres: Team relinquishes rights to Estephan, Possler
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Sabres have relinquished the rights to prospect forwards Giorgio Estephan and Gustav Possler by not signing them to contracts before an NHL deadline struck Thursday.

Estephan will re-enter the pool of players eligible to be selected in the draft this month. Possler becomes an unrestricted free agent.

The 20-year-old Estephan was Buffalo's sixth-round pick in 2015, and Possler was a fifth-round pick in 2013.

Estephan scored a career-best 35 goals and 89 points in 68 games last season with Lethbridge of the Western Hockey League. He added 11 goals and 24 points in 18 playoff games.

The 22-year-old Possler had two goals and four points in 21 games for Swedish League's Djurgardens IF in a season cut short by an ankle injury.

Panthers: Thornton hired as business executive
SUNRISE, Fla. -- Shawn Thornton is now a Florida Panthers executive.

The recently retired forward was announced Thursday as the Panthers' new vice president of business operations. Thornton revealed in April that he would join the team's front office and work under Panthers president and CEO Matthew Caldwell after taking a bit of time after the season to prepare for his new career.

"It's a humbling day for me and I'm excited to begin the next chapter of my career in hockey," Thornton said.

Thornton played for two Stanley Cup winners as part of the Boston Bruins. He played professionally for 20 years, spending the first half of that toiling in the minors before eventually breaking through and logging 705 NHL games with the Bruins, Panthers, Anaheim and Chicago.

He is one of two players to play more than 600 games in the American Hockey League and at least 700 in the NHL. The Panthers said Thornton also is the only player this century to record 10 fights, score 10 goals and win the Stanley Cup in the same season.

"Shawn's work ethic, enthusiasm and passion for the Panthers organization is second to none," Caldwell said. "We are thrilled to welcome him to our executive team and know that he will bring the same level of professionalism, experience and leadership to the business side of our organization as he did in the locker room" (see full story).

Wild: Brunette promoted to assistant GM
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- The Minnesota Wild have promoted Andrew Brunette to assistant general manager, the latest post in the organization for one of the best players in franchise history.

Brunette's elevated role was announced Thursday, with 10 other hockey operations and business side promotions.

Brunette was a hockey operations adviser last season after serving as an assistant coach the two years before that. He played six seasons for the Wild, ranking in their all-time top five in games played, goals, assists and power-play points.

Shep Harder, who was director of hockey administration, was also named an assistant general manager. Brent Flahr was promoted from assistant general manager to senior vice president of hockey operations.

Matt Majka, the chief operating officer and executive vice president, was named president of the Wild.