Pittsburgh Penguins Win the Stanley Cup

The Pens were without Kris Letang for the entire postseason.

Approaching the shortest offseason in team history, the 2017-18 version of the Predators should look very similar to the one that made this deep playoff run.

However, there hasn't been any hockey disappointment in the Steel City as of late.

The game was scoreless until the 58th minute of play when Patric Hornqvist, who was originally drafted by Nashville with the 230th and final pick of the 2005 National Hockey League entry draft, scored at the 18:25 mark of the third period to give Pittsburgh the victory.

The noise level inside Bridgestone Arena was remarkably loud throughout the game as fans tried to will the Predators to win the team's final home game this season. And no other team has repeated as champion since the Detroit Red Wings won in 1997 and '98. Despite their 2016 title, the Penguins did not begin this season as Stanley Cup favorites.

Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP for the second consecutive year.

NASHVILLE-What a game, this hockey.

His career, which has earned him numerous individual awards, also includes two Olympic gold medals, most notably the 2010 triumph in which he scored the winning goal in overtime. And the only rookies to ever post a shutout in the final series were Patrick Roy, in 1986, and Cam Ward, in 2006, with one apiece.

The Capitals are expected to undergo changes that could impact the Stanley Cup odds, especially if rumblings about possibly trading superstar Alex Ovechkin come to fruition.

The two stars would return to health, and Pittsburgh entered as the favorites in each of the next three postseasons.

Matt Cullen - The 40-year-old Penguins centre led all Pittsburgh forwards with 19:42 time on ice in Game Six, anchoring a penalty-killing unit that was a flawless 4-for-4.

The goalie so competitive he doesn't like teammates scoring on him in practice is back in Nashville where he's been almost unbeatable over the past two postseasons at 13-1.

Losing Suter might have been one the best things to happen to Josi.

Able to consistently pressure the point men on Nashville's power play, the veteran center proved essential to the penalty-killing efforts and finished with 4:42 of short-handed ice time.

Lemieux, now the Penguins' owner, says he could always tell Crosby would become a special player. By the time the Penguins reached the final, the team was running on fumes.

And it's the second championship in 18 months for coach Mike Sullivan, who has yet to lose a playoff series since taking over after Mike Johnston was sacked. He also traded for Trevor Daley, Carl Hagelin and Justin Schultz.

"There were going to be particular challenges that we were going to have to try to navigate through, and patience was going to be a fundamental part of it", Sullivan said.

These acquisitions have created a new core of players for Pittsburgh. All five of those players are under contract at least two more years.

Crosby becomes just the third back-to-back victor of the award, which was first handed out in 1965, after former Penguins captain Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent (1974, 1975).

Jake Guentzel finishes the playoffs with the most goals (13).

Matt Cullen will likely ride off into the sunset after picking up his third Stanley Cup. That team was large on talent, but had many underachieving moments until the playoffs. But there was zero chance there'd be a reversal, and the Predators had to forge ahead, and put the memory of that bad break behind them. That's no longer the case with Rutherford. They played 25 total games. The Penguins are expected to expose Fleury in the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft later this month.

The first period featured strong goaltending by Murray and Rinne, with the Penguins outshooting the Predators, 9-8. It could result in yet another championship down the road.

Evgeni Malkin had 28 points, including three goals in the Cup final. It was also a championship captured by a group that had played well over 200 games in the previous year.

In addition to Crosby's NHL accomplishments over the a year ago, he also led Canada to a World Cup of Hockey gold medal and was named MVP in that tournament. That's the job of the salary cap - make it very hard to build a dynasty. They needed Fleury to get here, too.

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