Penguins repeat as champions
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Once again, the Pittsburgh Penguins are Stanley Cup champions.
Patric Hornqvist scored the first goal of the game with 1 minute, 35 seconds remaining and Matt Murray made 27 saves for his second straight shutout as the Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2-0 on Sunday to end the championship series in six games.
“We knew it was going to be tough all year, but we just tried to keep with it,” said Sidney Crosby, who won his third championship, and second straight Conn Smythe Trophy as Stanley Cup MVP.
The Detroit Red Wings were the last team to repeat, winning in 1997 and ’98.
The Penguins’ fifth title — all of which have been clinched on the road — tied the franchise with Edmonton Oilers for sixth on the all-time list.
Hornqvist scored off Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne’s left elbow, silencing the raucous crowd. The Predators challenged for goalie interference, but the goal was upheld.
“Obviously, it’s going to be the biggest goal I’m ever going to score,” Hornqvist said. “That’s always going to stand really close to my heart.”
Nashville lost at home for the second time this postseason — and for the first time at home in regulation. The home team had won every game of the finals.
“It stings,” said the Predators’ P.K. Subban. “I think the biggest thing we’ve got to take from this is, remember the feeling. That’s what’s going to drive us. … We’re going to be back here again next year.”
Nashville’s Colton Sissons had a goal erased by a whistle 67 seconds into the second period — referee Kevin Pollock waved it off immediately after whistling the play dead when he lost sight of the puck.