Pittsburgh wins 2nd straight Stanley Cup title

A few more pucks go into Pittsburgh's net, or even just one more puck in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa, and none of this happens.

Crosby, who was widely considered the heir to Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, silenced any remaining critics by helping his Pittsburgh Penguins become the first team in nearly 20 years to repeat as National Hockey League champions and picked up a second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP as well.

That doesn't include Crosby also winning the World Cup of Hockey title before this season started, along with tournament MVP. Geno's 28 points are tied for the sixth-most of any player in a single postseason since the lockout and are the second-most of his playoff career (trailing the insane 36 points he dropped in 2009, when he won the Conn Smythe). All within a calendar year.

The Detroit Red Wings are the most recent team to win consecutive Stanley Cups in 1997 and '98.

But Crosby remains too humble to enter the debate of where his latest accomplishments put him in the conversation of all-time greats.

Crosby did have some help.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are back to back Stanley Cup Champions. Matt Murray has two Stanley Cups and is only a rookie.

Meanwhile, Predators' players looked to come to grips with a run that felt like destiny until Hornqvist's goal bounced off his old Nashville roommate Pekka Rinne's back and in the net. (All of these are Crosby and Malkin.) Add their 536 regular season wins since the lockout, second behind the Sharks franchise they beat for the Cup in 2016, and the picture crystalizes.

"I'm proud of the guys and the way that they played", Laviolette said. This says a lot about this team. He finished with one shot attempt and logged just eight minutes of ice time. It's a stretch that began after he gave up a second-period goal to Viktor Arvidsson in a 4-1 loss in Game 4. Another Minnesota native, center Matt Cullen, was dominant in the faceoff circle and on penalty kills, and former Gopher Phil Kessel also played a major role in the Penguins' success this season.

More bad luck for Sissons: Late in the third period, Sisson pinged a shot off the right goal post.

The disallowed goal will be remembered in Nashville for a long time. He had whistled the play dead when he lost sight of the puck with Murray on the ice between him and the puck. "It was tough for sure".

After being sidelined for the final four games of the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, Nick Bonino of the Pittsburgh Penguins donned his gear and skates to hoist the Cup and celebrate his team's second straight championship.

This year marks the second time that the Pens have repeated as champions. Sullivan is the first American-born coach to win the Cup not once, but twice.

That means every Cup winning team from 1954 through 1965 will be retired because space is needed this year. The Predators were the bottom seed in the West, seemingly unlikely to advance out of the first round much less be one of the last two teams standing.

The Penguins ruined Nashville's star-filled party on the final night of CMA Music Festival to set up another celebration of their own.

He joins Bernie Parent (1974-75) and Penguins co-owner Mario Lemieux (1991-92) as the only players to win them consecutively. Murray is the first goalie with two shutouts in one Cup Final since Boston's Tim Thomas and Vancouver's Roberto Luongo had two apiece in 2011.

Doug Briggs of Anaheim, Calif., said he made a decision to look in after missing Sunday night's Cup-clinching game.

Though the Penguins have a 21-19 edge in shots, it's the Predators who have had the best opportunities, including two by Colton Sissons.

  • Julie Sanders