The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2–0 to become the first back-to-back winners of the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings did it in 1997 and 1998. The seven game series finished with Pittsburgh winning 4 games to Nashville's 2. (We predicted the opposite... oopsy!)
They won the Cup last night after a wild Game 6 played in Nashville. Winger Patric Hornqvist broke a game-long 0–0 tie with a shot from behind the goal that bounced off the shoulder of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net.
There was only 1:35 left to play in the game. A little over a minute later, as Nashville had pulled their goalie and was desparately pressuring for a tying goal, Carl Hagelin scored an empty-net goal for the Penguins.
And that was that!
Crosby remains the best in the world
Sidney Crosby also won his second straight Conn Smythe Trophy. This is given out to the most valuable player of the playoffs, and it was pretty tough to argue with Sid winning it. Not only did he have 27 points in the playoffs (trailing only teammate Evgeni Malkin's 28), but he was a key player in so many of Pittsburgh's victories this year.
Last year, the Penguins won the Cup easily by being the best team on the ice. This season, they relied on guts, great goaltending, and the ability to forget terrible losses when they happened. And, of course, having the best player in the world as their captain!
Also, there may have been a little luck involved...
Poor predators still win over fans' hearts
Even if you're a diehard Penguins fans, it's hard not to feel for the Nashville Predators. In Game 1, they thought defensemen P.K. Subban had scored the first goal of the Stanley Cup final... until a video replay called the play offside (when a player enters a zone before the puck does).
They outplayed the Penguins in the first two games of the series... only to lose both games.
Then last night, they scored the game's opening goal after Colton Sissons tapped the puck into a wide open net...
...only to have found that referee Kevin Pollack had already blown the whistle because he lost sight of the puck a second earlier. Wow, right?
But Nashville fans stuck by their team. And they were some of the wildest fans we've ever seen! It is estimated that between the crowd in the arena and the fans outside on Broadway, one of the city's main streets, there were about 125,000 people! (The typical hockey arena holds under 20,000 people.) And all throughout the playoffs, there were street parties, concerts, and lots of fun!
For a team that had never been to the final before, they sure put on an awesome party!
One to remember
In the end though, the Predators, who were was also dealing with important injuries to top team members, just didn't have enough of their own luck to push themselves and win. Of course, there is little shame in losing to a team like the Penguins with one of the greatest players of all-time.
Do you think Sidney Crosby is finished winning Cups? We wouldn't bet against him!