Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Pens cap great year with 2nd straight Stanley Cup

Pens cap great year with 2nd straight Stanley Cup

There's Mike Sullivan winning titles in his first two seasons behind the Pittsburgh bench, Patric Hornqvist scoring the Stanley Cup-winning goal against his former team and Evgeni Malkin, not to be overshadowed, leading the Penguins in scoring during the postseason. Both duos were able to go back-to-back, with the 1997 and 1998 Detroit Red Wings as the only other franchise capable of doing so in the past 25 years of NHL hockey - a quarter century that has been book-ended by Penguins dominance. 'I feel fortunate, but I also understand how hard it was so you just want to try to make the best of it'.

Safe to say Lemieux is pleased with how the process worked out. That's what's going to drive us. Murray is the first goaltender in National Hockey League history to win the clinching game for the Stanley Cup in each of his first two seasons.

When Murray was healthy and Fleury faltered versus Ottawa, coach Mike Sullivan decided to make a change in net, giving Murray the starting role once again.

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Pens cap great year with 2nd straight Stanley Cup
Pens cap great year with 2nd straight Stanley Cup

James has significantly more finals defeats, but that has more to do with the nature of the two sports. "It doesn't get any better". 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. After setting two rookie records in one game, his family and girlfriend must be extremely proud of him. Referee Kevin Pollock blew the whistle when he lost sight of the puck, which was sitting behind Murray with lots of space in the crease for Sissons to tap it into the net. From nobody knowing what goaltender interference is anymore to linesmen pouring over a video review like it was the Zapruder film, looking for half a blurry a reason to wipe out offence, to Ryan Kesler flat-out grabbing Cam Talbot's pad on a series-changing goal, the league and its officials made themselves a major story in the playoffs.

For the second straight spring, Murray was on the ice when the final buzzer sounded, mobbed by his teammates after the Stanley Cup finally was secured. Nashville D Ryan Ellis, who sustained an undisclosed injury in the second period of Game 5, was back in uniform and in the starting lineup for Game 6. "I've never been shot up for a celebration, but I was tonight".

And on the blue line, they've been called a "no name" defense, and some have said without Letang, they're the worst defense in years to win the Cup.

Fleury's time with the Penguins may soon be coming to an end. 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. It's why Pittsburgh has gone from a city in which you might struggle to find a street hockey game 30 years ago to one that now churns out NHL players.

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