For the fourth time in their history and first since 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions, defeating the San Jose Sharks on Sunday night in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals by a 3-1 score.
Kris Letang’s go-ahead goal at 7:46 of the second period proved to be the game-winner, while rookie goaltender Matt Murray made 18 saves on a mere 19 Sharks shots on net. Brian Dumoulin and Patric Hornqvist (empty net) also scored for the Penguins, while Logan Couture scored San Jose’s lone goal.
Ironically, the Penguins won their previous Stanley Cup championship seven years earlier to the day at Joe Louis Arena against the Detroit Red Wings. Pittsburgh winger Evgeni Malkin was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2009, but this year it was the Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby who was named playoff MVP.
Following the traditional handshakes between the teams, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman was greeted coldly by the crowd at SAP Center, many of whom were Penguins fans. After receiving the Conn Smythe Trophy, Crosby accepted the Stanley Cup from Bettman and, after a brief skate, passed it to injured Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley. Daley then handed the Cup to Pascal Dupuis, who was forced to retire earlier this season due to blood clots.
Several players on Pittsburgh won their first ever championship, including Phil Kessel, Carl Hagelin, Patric Hornqvist, and Daley. For San Jose, it was a disappointing end to a season that saw them advance to their first ever Stanley Cup Final.