The 30 most joyous photos from the Penguins' Stanley Cup celebration

Hazel Gray
June 14, 2017

Penguins. Penguins that very well may be the greatest hockey team of the decade. The Chicago Blackhawks. However, the Pens are the first team to repeat as champions since the '97-'98 Detroit Red Wings.

Crosby becomes just the third back-to-back victor of the award, which was first handed out in 1965, after former Penguins captain Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Philadelphia Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent (1974, 1975). "I knew if there was a team that could do it, it would be us". We were given no shot, no chance, and he just kept us in there, so those two guys come to mind.

Another part that surprised me personally was the fact Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Playoff MVP, now don't get me wrong he's an incredible player and was clutch when need be.

"You just play the right way", he said.

Hornqvist scored off Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne's left elbow, the former Predator silencing the raucous crowd that had stood for long minutes and flung a few more catfish, too.

Instead, the goal didn't count and the Predators never found the back of the net again.

Carl Hagelin added the empty-netter. And it's not really that close.

All that was left was the celebrating. He was awarded Conn Smythe both times, but didn't have Crosby's regular season dominance to match with one of those two campaigns mostly missed with injury.

Nashville lost at home for the second time this postseason - and for the first time at home in regulation.

It's the no-goal call on Sissons, no doubt. The Predators had four power play chances, and a key 32 second 5-on-3 in the third period, but were held off the board.

"We've got to let this sink in and embrace it", defenseman P.K. Subban said. That's what's going to drive us. Guentzel finished just one goal short of the National Hockey League record for most goals by a rookie during the Stanley Cup Playoffs behind only Dino Ciccarelli, who finished with 14. Sullivan is the first American-born coach to win the Cup not once, but twice.

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Lemieux didn't hesitate: "Oh, of course", he said.

Our version of the Conn Smythe Award, the Jean Beliveau Award is named after Montreal Canadiens legend Jean Beliveau, whose name is on the Stanley Cup 17 times (10 as a player, 7 as an executive), more than any other individual.

Sullivan sits young players next to Crosby in the team's home dressing room for exactly that reason. Two championships in succession have put Pittsburgh's tally during the Crosby-Malkin era at three - one more than the team earned in the Lemieux-Jagr era. They were dominant teams, and the best of them may have been the 1993 team that was upset by the Islanders in the Eastern Conference final.

Crosby had 27 points in 25 playoff games, but just one goal and six assists in the Cup Final. In doing so, the Predators became the first eighth-seeded team to sweep a first-round series since the current playoff format was introduced in 1994. Nashville went through St. Louis and then Anaheim to the Final, where only captain Mike Fisher on the roster had ever played before. Murray also blanked Nashville in the Penguins' 6-0 rout in Game 5. Viewership was up 19 percent vs. the 2016 Stanley Cup Final, which featured the Penguins and the San Jose Sharks. At least five catfish hit the ice before the face-off.

Penguins' Goaltender Matt Murray hoisting the Stanley Cup trophy after a Game 6 victory.

"We never gave up", Fisher said. "Yeah, especially with the pressure on us and with how many guys we had playing hurt". In the Game 6 clincher, Crosby had four shots on goal in 17:17. Things didn't go our way, but that happens.

"It couldn't have worked out any better for me", Hornqvist said. "I'm glad we still had the same group of guys altogether".

This year's win might have been harder than a year ago.

But one of their most gifted players, Kris Letang, did not play after mid-February because of a herniated disc in his neck.

The Penguins' captain was named the Conn Smythe victor as the playoff MVP for the second consecutive year. Pre-game coverage also featured segments on Fisher and Penguins goalie Matt Murray.

Rinne seemed to acknowledge that Sunday by saying he viewed the Predators' run to the Stanley Cup Final as "a once in a lifetime opportunity".

Other reports by VgToday

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