Penguins return home after clinching back-to-back Stanley Cup wins

Pittsburgh killed its final seven penalties during the last three games of the Stanley Cup. Instead, it was the reason Pittsburgh was able to close out Nashville in Game 6.

Retaining the free agents while getting a return to health from Kris Letang would enhance Pittsburgh's chances at a sixth Stanley Cup.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are picked second to win the Cup, at 12 to 1 odds.

The Predators were 0 of 8 on the power play in the past two games and 4 of 18 in the series. But at the time, the victory over Minnesota established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the guys from Long Island were the top dogs in the National Hockey League.

P.K. Subban seemingly provided Nashville a 1-0 lead midway through the first period of Game 1 following a blast past Murray, but the call was overturned on the league's convoluted offsides rule, which-by the letter of the law, and a lengthy video review-flagged Filip Forsberg as the guilty party by the tiniest of margins. The Islanders, in fact, dominated from start to finish and probably earned the respect they felt was missing for much of the season.

"It's been an fantastic year from the start, trying to repeat", Lemieux said. That's quite a stark improvement from the regular season numbers.

The Predators' awesome, improbable playoff run finally is over.

But, in losing the final series to the New York Islanders, the North Stars at least had the satisfaction of losing to a team that they recognize as a hockey powerhouse. They never really got outnumbered. "He was our leader and picked up the team when we needed it". One of Michigan's all-time great four-year players, Porter finished his U-M career with 183 points (85 goals, 98 assists) in 162 games and appeared in four NCAA Tournaments (2005-08), including the 2008 NCAA Frozen Four.

Even in uniform, he is an individualist. Only one other player, beyond Crosby and Lemieux, has won back-to-back Smythes since the award was first given out in 1965. But he can play.

"There's so many guys who could have easily won that, and I think we just had a group of guys that understood big moments and knew how to find ways to win", said Crosby. And that's just the beginning, just think about what they could do next year. To add to Torrey's potential problems, next year coach Al Arbour's contract expires. They put the puck in deep, especially early. You're exhausted. You're drained. Holy cow, there are a ton of just fans just jumping the glass and running onto the ice.

In the case of the 2017 Penguins, their resiliency and will to win stands out considering their lengthy list of injuries and obstacles on the way to securing Lord Stanley's chalice. Winning back-to-back Cups is something very, very few people get to see. Even the Chicago Blackhawks, three-time winners with a core of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Duncan Keith hadn't managed to win in back-to-back years.

  • Salvatore Jensen