The Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators, scoring two goals while keeping their opponent scoreless in Game 6. This earned the Penguins their second consecutive Stanley Cup championship, making them the first team to win the title in back-to-back seasons since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings. Additionally, this just adds to the Penguins’ dominance of the National Hockey League in the last ten years: they’ve won three Stanley Cups in that time span and made five conference finals. Game 6 was a star-making performance by Pittsburgh goalie Matt Murray, who made 27 saves in his effort to keep the Predators off the scoreboard.
After the game, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said on how he kept the team hungry for a second title, “We push them hard. It’s not always warm and fuzzy.” Of course, praise could not come without acknowledging the core of superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, who combined for 18 goals and 55 points this postseason. “I think they are appreciative of one another. At least that’s my observation,” Sullivan commented. Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford was even more effusive, saying that, “Our team is led by the greatest player in the game.” Rutherford played in the era of Gordie Howe and Bobby Orr, but he believes that Crosby, who has been on the team for Pittsburgh’s three Stanley Cups in the last decade, deserves to be in the discussion for best hockey player of all time.
When Crosby was asked about what keeps him in the game, he said in the euphoria of holding the Stanley Cup, “This feeling right now. You can’t match that.” As for defenseman Ian Cole, he attributed the team’s success to confidence, saying that “it was something that no one on the team gave up.” Crosby and Malkin are signed long term, so they are early favorites to make it a three-peat.