After 87 playoff games, the NHL has finally crowned a champion. On Sunday night, the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators 2-0 to claim their second Stanley Cup in two years. Penguin’s captain Sidney Crosby was awarded the Conn Smythe Award as MVP of the playoffs.
As for the game itself, it was rather controversial. The Predators appeared to score a goal early in the second period, but referees waved it off. It appeared as though the referee blew his whistle because he lost sight of the puck, even though it was sitting in the crease, and eventually moved into the back of the net. Predators fans were upset by the call.
Not only should the Predators have been up 1-0, but it took until the last 100 seconds of the game for the Penguins to score the game winner. Patric Hornqvist was able to bat a puck out of midair, off of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne, and into the back of the net. Carl Hagelin would later add an empty netter, sealing back-to-back Stanley Cups for the first time since, well, the Penguins won back in 1991-92.
As for what this cup means, it cements Sidney Crosby as one of the greatest of all time. He was always considered the best of his generation, but a third Stanley Cup is tough to dispute.
On the other side of the ice, this cup final has done wonders for hockey in the south. Nashville was questioned if they could support a hockey team, and they proved it in a big way.
For now, it’s on to the expansion draft as the NHL’s newest team, the Vegas Golden Knights, are tasked with building a roster from scratch.