Nashville had held their game for more than 58 minutes, creating chance after chance, and it looked like there might be enough to push the game to overtime, and a possible game 7, until Patric Hornqvist bounced the puck off the back of Pekka Rinne and into the back of the net. There was only 1:35 left in the third period and by the look of the Nashville bench; they knew it was all over. Pittsburgh knew it too, but the captain Sidney Crosby settled his teammates down knowing that the game wasn’t over until the buzzer sounded. But Carl Hagelin allowed the celebration to erupt for his team again as he buried an empty net goal to solidify the Stanley Cup win.
The Pittsburgh Penguins become the first team since the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup back-to-back. This marks Sidney Crosby’s third Stanley Cup as well as winning the Conn Smythe trophy two years in a row. The decorated captain knows how to lead his team to victory and is on his way to making history, if he hasn’t already, with this team.
On the other side, it’s a heartbreaking ending to a historic season for the Nashville Predators. This was the team’s first Stanley Cup appearance in franchise history as well as their first Conference Finals that they played against the Anaheim Ducks. For the first three series, the Predators were a dominate force. Beginning with their sweep over the Chicago Blackhawks and ending with beating the Anaheim Ducks to secure their chance at the Stanley Cup. However, during this series, the only time Nashville was dominate was in their own arena. The failed road games earned Pekka Rinne the worst road save percentage in recent years, which now overshadows his “brick wall” reputation that was earned in the earlier series.
It was a good run for the Nashville Predators and although I firmly believed they were going to win the Cup, it may take a few more years before the Music City is hoisting the Cup for the first time.
So now as the hockey season comes to a close and we get a little bit closer to next season, is it possible that the Pittsburgh Penguins can make it back-to-back-to-back Stanley Cup wins or will a new team get to lift the Cup next year? We’ll just have to wait for next season to find out.