82 regular season games, 111 regular season points, 16 postseason games, 60 postseason goals, one year, one team, one major accomplishment. All these numbers combined lead to one of the most impressive accomplishments in recent NHL history: the Pittsburgh Penguins have been crowned back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions. Defeating the Nashville Predators in a six games series, the Penguins have become the first team in nearly two decades with back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
If you’re one of the countless NHL fans who stayed up to watch the Pittsburgh Penguins face the Nashville Predators in Game Six, chances are you probably added an extra shot of espresso to your coffee this morning. Though the game ended in a 2-0 victory for the Penguins, all the action of the night happened within the last two minutes of the period. The third period that is.
In the first period, plenty of shots were taken on both the Penguins and Predators side. In fact, one got past Murray, but following a penalty call, the goal was reverted and the score remained 0-0. The action, however, was anything from zero. With plenty of shoving, fighting and shots taken, the first period of this Game Six Stanley Cup Finals series raised the level of excitement to an unseen height as fans now sat white knuckled on the edge of their collective seats waiting to see who would take the lead half way through the game.
Anxious and excited to begin celebrating, Preds and Penguins fans alike continued to wake for a leader to arise, but following many shutout shot attempts, the score remained null and void with nothing on the board.
Going scoreless into the third period – the only game in Stanley Cup Finals history to do so – action needed to happen as it became apparent the first team to score would skate away victorious. With just 1:35 left in the regulation play, Patric Hornqvist sank one past Pikka Rinne (who had stopped 27 previous shots) for a 1-0 lead. With the net open, Carl Hagelin sunk another one in the net, elevating the score 2-0 and pushing the Penguins to their second consecutive Stanley Cup Championship.
While these two men, who put up the only goals of the night, were superb, the attention is drawn to two others: Matt Murray and Sidney Crosby. Murray and Crosby, both apart of last year’s championship winning team, combined their efforts once again in a spectacular way.
Murray is honored for his second consecutive win and for his 27 saves while Sidney Crosby earned a second Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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