Thursday, June 30News That Matters

Pittsburgh Penguins pick up controversial victory over Nashville Predators to win Stanley Cup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Stanley Cup is going back to Pittsburgh.

Former Nashville forward Patric Hornqvist broke a scoreless tie at 18:25 of the third period Sunday night as the Penguins successfully defended their Stanley Cup championship with a 2-0 victory over the Predators in Game 6 of the Final at Bridgestone Arena.

It was the fifth postseason goal for Hornqvist, who deflected the puck off netminder Pekka Rinne from behind the goal line at the right post after Justin Schultz‘s wide shot. Nashville challenged the goal for goalie interference, but it was upheld after a brief review.

Carl Hagelin scored his second of the playoffs into an empty net at 19:46 to seal it. The sellout crowd, already upset by a Predators goal being nullified early in the second period, showered the ice with towels and pompoms.

Pittsburgh became the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98.

Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was named the Conn Smythe Award winner, the second straight year he earned the honor given to the most valuable player in the postseason.

Matt Murray stopped 27 shots for Pittsburgh, including four critical saves when Nashville failed to capitalize on 3:28 of power-play time midway through the third period. The Predators went 0-for-4 with the man advantage in a game in which their opponent didn’t get a single power play.

Rinne had 27 saves on 28 shots, losing for just the second time on home ice in the playoffs.

After overrunning Nashville in its 6-0 win in Game 5 with three goals in each of the first two periods, Pittsburgh found far more resistance in this one. The Predators took the body far more often in the first period, outhitting the Penguins 17-8 in a scoreless 20 minutes.

Nashville appeared to score early in the second period as Colton Sissons poked home a rebound sitting in the crease. However, the officials waved it off, saying the whistle blew before Sissons scored, as the crowd booed lustily.

Both teams created good chances throughout the middle 20 minutes, but Murray and Rinne were on point. Murray finished the period with 19 stops while Rinne had 22 saves.

NOTES: Pittsburgh’s 5-0 road record with a chance to clinch the Stanley Cup is the best record in NHL history in that situation. Only Montreal has won more Cups on the road with 10. … 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. … Notable scratches for the Penguins were D Mark Streit, D Chad Ruhwedel and C Nick Bonino. … Notable Predators scratches were RW PA Parenteau, LW Harry Zolnierczyk and LW Vernon Fiddler.

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