Image by: Pittsburgh Penguins Twitter

The Pittsburgh Penguins Sunday became the first back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in the salary cap era.

Penguins Captain Sidney Crosby, before winning his second-consecutive Conn Smythe (MVP) Trophy, said they started this season set on bringing the Cup back to Pittsburgh.

“Just to be able to share that with this group…to be able to accomplish it is a great feeling.”

Sidney Crosby is third in NHL history to win the Conn Smythe Trophy in consecutive years (Bernie Parent 1974-1975, Mario Lemieux 1991-1992).
Crosby had 27 points in 23 postseason games this year.

But it’s his teammate, a former Predator, Patric Hornqvist that scored the game-winning goal with 1:35 left in the third.

 

 

 

 


To solidify the victory, Carl Hagelin then tallied an empty-netter with 13.6 seconds remaining.

 

 


Pens goalie Matt Murray, technically still a rookie, won his second shutout Stanley Cup. He stopped 29 shots.

The Preds’ Pekka Rinne held strong until the final two minutes. He stopped 27 of 28 shots.

The real stars of Game 6 Sunday night, and the postseason in general, were the goaltenders.

But who will many people be talking about? The officials.

Heading tied 0-0 into the third period, just 20 minutes away from a possible Cup win and elimination, a no-goal call in the second period left hockey enthusiasts seething.

Referee Kevin Pollock blew the whistle from behind the net while Murray’s save attempt on a Filip Forsberg shot left an open net rebound for Colton Sissons to tap in. Pollock was apparently the only person of 17,000+ in Bridgestone Arena who didn’t see the loose puck–and he didn’t adjust his position to try.

 

 

 

 

 

And, the Predators were unable to shake it. They couldn’t turn the tides in their favor. In fact, in the last 123-plus minutes of the postseason, the Preds were unable to score an official goal, a statistic that certainly dug the grave for their 2017 Cup dreams.

The game opened with a fantastic Murray save on a P.K. Subban shot.

 

 

 

From there, the Predators were unable to make a move. The Penguins outshot the Preds by a mere 29-27 and had four penalties to the Preds’ zero. But the team couldn’t capitalize on power plays, even a short 5-on-3. And, they couldn’t get the puck past Murray.

 

Captain Mike Fisher gave an emotional post-game interview.

“This team never gave up. We believed all the way.”

 

He remarked how the team wanted to unite the city around the team, which undoubtedly was a success despite the season’s outcome.

 

 


 

 

And, on the other side, the Penguins are the first team to win consecutive championships since the 1997-1998 Detroit Red Wings.

Now, good news for all, less than three months until the 2017-2018 season.

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Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.

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