Pittsburgh Penguins seal second straight Stanley Cup title after game six win over Nashville Predators
The Stanley Cup is returning to Pittsburgh after a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators in game six
The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2-0 on Sunday to clinch back-to-back Stanley Cup crowns in the first such title defence in nearly 20 years.
Patric Hornqvist fired Pittsburgh into the lead with 1:35 left in the final period to silence a raucous home crowd in Nashville who had roared on their team, who ultimately fell to a 4-2 loss in the series.
Hornqvist’s killer blow – which deflected off Pekka Rinne – left Nashville exposed as they chased the game for an equaliser.
With the Predators goal empty, it was left to Carl Hagelin to score the coup de grace with a breakaway, triggering wild celebrations on the Penguins bench.
The Penguins became the first team to defend the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings achieved the feat in 1998.
Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who was named the MVP of the series, said the Penguins had set themselves a goal of emulating Detroit at the start of the season.
“It’s pretty special, to be able to share this with this group of guys,” Crosby said. “A good chunk of the team were returning but for the new guys it’s pretty special.
“This was our goal at the beginning of the year – we knew that it hadn’t been done in a long time. So to be able to accomplish it is a great feeling.”
Crosby said Pittsburgh had been buoyed by their emphatic performance in game five, when they romped to a 6-0 win to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“I think all play-offs long we got better as the series went on and we tried to do that in this series,” Crosby said.
Hornqvist’s goal was his fifth of the post-season and came after he collected the puck after Justin Schultz’s wide shot.
Nashville made a desperate challenge to overturn the goal for goalie interference, but the call stood after a review.
Hagelin then grabbed the second of his play-off campaign to the dismay of the Bridgestone Arena crowd, already seething after a Predators goal was disallowed in the second period.
Towels and pompoms rained down onto the ice as Pittsburgh’s players celebrated their win. Predators had already hurled a number of catfish on the ice throughout the game.
Matt Murray stopped 27 shots for Pittsburgh, including four crucial blocks when Nashville failed to make the most of 3:28 of power-play time in the second period.
Rinne meanwhile had 27 saves on 28 shots, losing for just the second time on home ice in the play-offs.
Earlier, Nashville appeared to score early in the second period when Colton Sissons jabbed home from a rebound.
The officials disallowed the goal however, stating that the whistle had blown before Sissons scored.