My Two Cents: What a Wild Ride with the Nashville Predators

"He's now one of the best to ever play the game", Penguins owner Mario Lemieux, a two-time Stanley Cup victor as a player, said of his former team mate.

The series victor came with under two minutes left in the game by Patric Hornqvist, ironically a 2005 Predators seventh-round pick, who threw the puck to the net from behind the goal line and it bounced off of the back of Pekka Rinne's glove and in.

Hagelin iced the game with 14 seconds left when, with Rinne out of the goal in favour of an extra attacker, he scored into the empty net.

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.

The last team to have back-to-back Stanley Cup wins was the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and '98. Parity reigns in the salary-cap era.

In fact, since 2009, the Penguins first Cup with Crosby, six of the past nine Stanley Cups have gone to either Chicago or Pittsburgh.

"We were getting chances, just nothing was going in for us", Murray said.

Donatelli credits Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan for finding the right ways to motivate each player and allow them to contribute, much like he did last season with National Hockey League rookies Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust. Crosby took the Cup from NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman before handing the trophy off to veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey who passed it to veteran forward Matt Cullen, who may have played his final game at the age of 40. "It's great to be able to do it". He entered the game with a three-game point streak, including three assists in a 6-0 win in Game 5 on Thursday.

Start at the top, where Pittsburgh has the best one-two talent punch in the league in Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. "So you just want to try to make the best of it".

The referee thought Murray had the puck but it had actually trickled just behind him and into the crease where Sissons had what should have been the opening goal.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne was one of the big reasons behind Nashville's postseason success, although he struggled badly on the road against the Penguins.

Crosby was the Penguins' second-highest scorer in the playoffs with 27 points and the 29-year-old saved his best performance for Game Five of the Final with the series tied 2-2 and Nashville riding the momentum of consecutive victories. Sullivan is the first American-born coach to win the Cup not once, but twice. Only one player on the Preds roster had more than a single goal in the series (rookie Frederick Gaudreau, with three) and their lack of finish was painful.

It's hard to imagine that the Penguins would have won the Cup - or even advanced past the first round - had Rutherford traded Fleury at the deadline.

The Pens outlasted Nashville, 2-0, in game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals. However, the officials waved it off, saying the whistle blew before Sissons scored and drawing jeers from the crowd. "You know what? We've got a lot to be proud of and we're grateful for the journey". Though Crosby did not have a point in the Game 6 win, his impact was felt every moment he was on the ice. Things didn't go our way, but that happens. "I believe we have it in abundance in our dressing room".

It also shouldn't be completely written off as a lucky team that just got hot at the right time.

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