NASHVILLE: On Sunday June 11th, the Pittsburgh Penguins went into Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals hoping to win their second consecutive title. The Predators, trying to force a Game 7 to win their first title, are playing on home ice where the crowd will be cheering to not see the cup that night. With Penguins up 3-2 in the series, and coming off of a 6-0 win in Game 5, intensity was high and it was sure to be an exciting night of hockey in Nashville.
Early in the second period, Nashville thought they had the opening goal of the night, however, the officials had blown the whistle. The puck was out of view, but as Matt Murray was trying to cover the puck it slipped out and was placed in the back of the net by Colton Sisson. The official was quick to blow the whistle, many believe too quickly. With rebounds like this one, we see it mostly as a play-on, this game was different. After some discussion, the officials ruled it no goal as the whistle had been blown prior to the goal. This premature whistle, for many, was the opportunity that cost the Predators the game.
The game went scoreless until there was only 1:35 left in regulation. Patric Hornqvist scored off of Nashville’s goaltender, Pekke Rinne, by hitting it off of his elbow. The Predators risked a time-out to challenge goalie interference, but the goal upheld. After pulling their goalie, the Penguins score an empty netter, bringing the bench to their feet with 13.6 seconds remaining. The Penguins did it, they won the Stanley Cup for the second consecutive year-making them the first team to do so in the salary cup era.
The Predators have a lot to be proud of. This was the longest playoff run in the club’s history. Nashville has quickly proven itself to be a fierce, hockey community this season. However, the Penguins had a once in a lifetime opportunity to take the title back-to-back, something that hadn’t been done in almost two decades. This is the 5th title for the Penguins, third cup for Captain, Sidney Crosby and a handful of teammates, and to top it off, they capped off their 50th season, in the centennial year of the NHL, with a victory.
The NHL season may be over, but the summer events are just getting started. Check back to keep updated on all things free agency, Expansion Draft, NHL Awards, and the NHL Draft taking place in Sweet Home Chicago.