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Stanley Cup Final

How Penguins won Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh earned fifth championship, second straight, with series wins against Blue Jackets, Capitals, Senators, Predators

by Pete Jensen and David Satriano @NHL / NHL.com Staff Writers

The Pittsburgh Penguins became the first team to repeat as Stanley Cup champions since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 with a 2-0 win against the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Sunday.

Pittsburgh defeated two Metropolitan Division rivals, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Washington Capitals, in the first round and second round, with the latter series going seven games. The Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators in overtime in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final to return to the Cup Final.

Video: How They Got There: Pittsburgh Penguins

Here's a look at the Penguins' road to the Stanley Cup:

 

April 12: Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 1

After neither team scored in the first period, goals by Bryan Rust, Phil Kessel and Nick Bonino gave Pittsburgh a 3-0 lead after the second. Matt Calvert scored midway through the third for the Blue Jackets to make it 3-1, but Marc-Andre Fleury, who started after Matt Murray was injured during warmups, made 31 saves.

Video: CBJ@PIT Gm1: Fleury saves 31 in Murray's stead

 

April 14: Game 2, Eastern Conference First Round, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 4, Blue Jackets 1

Sidney Crosby scored his first goal of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first period, but Pittsburgh native Brandon Saad got the Blue Jackets even seven minutes into the second before rookie Jake Guentzel's goal 51 seconds later gave the Penguins the lead for good. Third-period goals by Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist sealed the win and a 2-0 series lead for the Penguins. Crosby finished with a goal and two assists, and Fleury made 39 saves.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm2: Crosby pots 50th career playoff goal

 

April 16: Game 3, Eastern Conference First Round, Nationwide Arena: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 4 (OT)

Cam Atkinson scored 11 seconds into the game to give the Blue Jackets a 1-0 lead, but Guentzel scored at 3:17 to tie it at 1-1. Atkinson and Zach Werenski then scored to give Columbus a 3-1 lead at 6:10. Rust and Malkin scored in the second to tie the game at 3-3 before Guentzel gave Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead with his second of the game at 11:48 of the third. Columbus center Brandon Dubinsky tied it with less than five minutes remaining in the third before Guentzel completed his hat trick 13:10 into overtime, scoring on a pass from Crosby from behind the net. Guentzel became the first Penguins rookie to have a hat trick in the playoffs, and Pittsburgh took a 3-0 series lead.

Video: PIT@CBJ, Gm3: Guentzel nets hat trick, OT winner

 

April 18: Game 4, Eastern Conference First Round, Nationwide Arena: Blue Jackets 5, Penguins 4

The Penguins trailed 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 at 4:48 of the second. Hornqvist and 14-year veteran defenseman Ron Hainsey, playing in his first postseason, scored to make it 3-2 after the second, but Columbus' William Karlsson scored 27 seconds into the third for a 4-2 lead. Tom Kuhnhackl got Pittsburgh within 4-3 less than two minutes later, but Boone Jenner restored the two-goal lead for Columbus at 5:37. Guentzel's shorthanded goal with 28 seconds remaining pulled the Penguins within 5-4, but it wasn't enough. Pittsburgh lost for the first time in the 2017 playoffs.

 

April 20: Game 5, Eastern Conference First Round, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 5, Blue Jackets 2

Phil Kessel scored in the first period and Rust scored twice to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead 3:50 into the second. Columbus got goals by Karlsson and Jenner to make it 3-2 after two periods, but Crosby's power-play goal 5:31 into the third and Scott Wilson's goal 51 seconds later put the game away. Fleury made 49 saves, including 19 in the third period, and the Penguins won the series in five games.

Video: CBJ@PIT, Gm5: Wilson tallies with no-look backhand

 

April 27: Game 1, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center: Penguins 3, Capitals 2

The Penguins, who defeated the Capitals in six games of the 2016 second round, played for the first time in a week. Crosby scored twice in the first 1:04 of the second period to give Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead. Goals by Alex Ovechkin late in the second and Evgeny Kuznetsov 8:05 into the third tied the game 2-2 before Bonino's second goal of the playoffs with 7:24 remaining gave the Penguins the lead for good. Fleury made 33 saves.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm1: Crosby scores two in 52 seconds

 

April 29: Game 2, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center: Penguins 6, Capitals 2

After a goal-less first period, Matt Cullen, Kessel and Guentzel scored in the second to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead. Kessel's second of the game 2:19 into the third made it 4-1, but Washington's Nicklas Backstrom scored 1:25 later to make it 4-2. However, Malkin's goal at 5:31 put the game out of reach and Guentzel added an empty-netter. Guentzel and Kessel each scored two goals and had an assist, and Fleury made 34 saves.

Video: PIT@WSH, Gm2: Kessel finishes Crosby's nice feed

 

May 1: Game 3, Eastern Conference Second Round, PPG Paints Arena: Capitals 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

The Penguins trailed 1-0 after the first on a power-play goal by Backstrom. Kuznetsov made it 2-0 halfway through the third period before Malkin and Justin Schultz scored 48 seconds apart in the final two minutes to make it 2-2 and send the game into overtime. But defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored a power-play goal 3:13 into OT to give Washington its first win of the series and hand the Penguins their first playoff loss at home.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm3: Shattenkirk nets PPG for OT win

 

May 3: Game 4, Eastern Conference Second Round, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 3, Capitals 2

Hornqvist gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead 4:39 into the first period before Guentzel's playoff-leading eighth goal made it 2-0 at 3:21 of the second. However, the lead was short-lived; Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt scored for the Capitals less than five minutes later to make it 2-2. But Schultz's power-play goal at 11:24 of the second gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead and turned out to be the game-winner. Fleury made 36 saves for Pittsburgh, which took a 3-1 series lead.

Video: WSH@PIT, Gm4: Schultz drills PPG past Holtby

 

May 6: Game 5, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center; Capitals 4, Penguins 2

Carl Hagelin's first goal of the playoffs gave the Penguins a 1-0 lead midway through the first period, but Washington's Andre Burakovsky scored with 30 seconds left in the period to make it 1-1. Kessel's power-play goal gave Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead after two periods, but Backstrom, Kuznetsov and Ovechkin scored in a span of 4:58 early in the third to get Washington within 3-2 in the series. 

 

May 8: Game 6, Eastern Conference Second Round, PPG Paints Arena: Capitals 5, Penguins 2

The Penguins had their second chance to clinch the series, this time on home ice, but were never in the game. The Capitals led 2-0 after the second period on goals by T.J. Oshie and Burakovsky, and Washington scored three times in the first 12:29 of the third to take a 5-0 lead. Guentzel and Malkin scored with less than four minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late for the Penguins, who lost two straight games for the first time in the playoffs. 

 

May 10: Game 7, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center; Penguins 2, Capitals 0

Rust scored the only goal the Penguins would need 8:49 into the second period. Hornqvist scored 4:14 into the third, and Fleury made 29 saves for his ninth NHL playoff shutout and first this year. The Penguins locked down defensively, limiting Washington to six shots on goal in the third period, and improved to 6-0 all-time in Game 7s on the road. Pittsburgh won the series 4-3 to advance to its second straight Eastern Conference Final.

Video: Penguins, Capitals mic'd up for do-or-die Game 7

 

May 13: Game 1: Eastern Conference Final, PPG Paints Arena; Senators 2, Penguins 1 (OT)

After an emotional seven-game series against the Capitals, the Penguins came out flat in Game 1 against the Senators. Ottawa's 1-3-1 defensive structure disrupted the Penguins' offense and Pittsburgh went 0-for-5 on the power play. Jean-Gabriel Pageau of the Senators made it 1-0 at 14:32 of the first period and neither team generated many chances prior to Malkin's tying goal at 14:25 of the third. But Ottawa's Bobby Ryan continued his resurgent postseason with a breakaway goal 4:59 into overtime to give the Senators a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

 

May 15: Game 2: Eastern Conference Final, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 1, Senators 0

The Senators and Penguins engaged in another defensive battle, with neither team scoring until Kessel's goal off a feed from Malkin at 13:05 of the third period. Fleury stopped all 23 shots he faced for his second shutout of the postseason and 10th of his NHL career. Rust and Schultz left the game in the first period with injuries. Rust missed the next two games; Schultz was out for Games 3-6.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm2: Kessel scores after showing frustration

 

May 17: Game 3: Eastern Conference Final, Canadian Tire Centre: Senators 5, Penguins 1

Ottawa forward Mike Hoffman scored 48 seconds into the game and the Senators jumped out to a 4-0 lead, chasing Fleury at 12:52 of the first period. Defenseman Marc Methot had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who were in complete control throughout the game. The Penguins avoided the shutout when Crosby scored a power-play goal at 6:05 of the third period. Murray relieved Fleury and went on to start each of Pittsburgh's 10 remaining playoff games.

 

May 19: Game 4: Eastern Conference Final, Canadian Tire Centre: Penguins 3, Senators 2

Murray made 24 saves in his first start of the 2017 playoffs and the Penguins held on for a road win to even the series 2-2. Olli Maatta opened the scoring with 46 seconds left in the first period, and Crosby and Brian Dumoulin scored less than four minutes apart in the second to give the Penguins a 3-0 lead. Clarke MacArthur made it 3-1 late in the second period, and Tom Pyatt scored at 14:59 of the third period to cut the Penguins' lead to 3-2, but Murray didn't allow another goal, earning his first of seven wins this postseason.

Video: PIT@OTT, Gm4: Maatta buries first playoff goal

 

May 21: Game 5: Eastern Conference Final, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 7, Senators 0

The Penguins scored four goals in the first period and were never threatened. Seven players scored and 11 players had at least one point. Pittsburgh went 3-for-3 on the power play with man-advantage goals from Crosby, Kessel and Trevor Daley to move within one win of their second straight Stanley Cup Final appearance. Murray earned his second NHL postseason shutout. Senators goalie Craig Anderson allowed four goals on 14 shots before backup Mike Condon played the last two periods.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm5: Crosby tips in Daley's shot for PPG

 

May 23: Game 6: Eastern Conference Final, Canadian Tire Centre: Senators 2, Penguins 1

Malkin scored the first goal of the game at 4:51 of the second period, but that was the only shot to beat Anderson, who made 45 saves two days after being pulled in Game 5. Hoffman scored the go-ahead goal for the Senators 1:34 into the third period. It came after Ottawa finally solved Murray, who had not allowed a goal in 98:16, when Ryan scored a power-play goal at 13:15 of the second period.

 

May 25: Game 7: Eastern Conference Final, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 3, Senators 2 (2OT)

The Senators gave the Penguins all they could handle, but the defending Stanley Cup champions prevailed on home ice when Chris Kunitz, promoted to the top line with Crosby, scored at 5:09 of the second overtime to send the Penguins to the Stanley Cup Final against the Nashville Predators. Kunitz scored two goals and had an assist; he hadn't scored a goal since Feb. 16, a span of 35 games. Murray improved to 2-0 in NHL career Game 7s and the Penguins survived their second Game 7 of the 2017 playoffs.

Video: OTT@PIT, Gm7: Kunitz wins series in double overtime

 

May 29: Game 1, Stanley Cup Final, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 5, Predators 3

Predators defenseman P.K. Subban had an apparent first-period goal disallowed after video review showed the play was offside, and Pittsburgh responded with three goals in a span of 4:11. But the Predators then held the Penguins without a shot on goal for 37 minutes and rallied to tie the game 3-3 with one goal in the second period and two in the third. However, Guentzel scored the game-winning goal with 3:17 remaining on the Penguins' first shot since Nick Bonino's goal at 19:43 of the first period.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm1: Guentzel snipes late go-ahead goal

 

May 31: Game 2, Stanley Cup Final, PPG Paints Arena; Penguins 4, Predators 1

The Penguins' quick-strike ability was showcased when Guentzel scored his second goal of the game 10 seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 tie. Pittsburgh followed with two goals in a span of 15 seconds soon after. In all, the Penguins scored three third-period goals in a span of 3:18. Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne struggled for the second straight game, allowing four goals on 25 shots. Bonino injured his left foot blocking a shot by P.K. Subban and missed the next four games. The Penguins won despite going 0-for-7 on the power play.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm2: Malkin goes bar-down to pad lead

 

June 3: Game 3, Stanley Cup Final, Bridgestone Arena: Predators 5, Penguins 1

The Penguins opened the scoring on Guentzel's 13th goal of the playoffs, but the Predators' offense broke out in the second period by scoring two goals in 42 seconds and another with 23 seconds remaining in the period. Craig Smith and Mattias Ekholm scored in the third, Rinne rebounded with 27 saves and Nashville secured the first Stanley Cup Final win since entering the League in 1998. Crosby and Malkin were each held without a shot on goal.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm3: Josi, Gaudreau strike 42 seconds apart

 

June 5: Game 4, Stanley Cup Final, Bridgestone Arena: Predators 4, Penguins 1

Calle Jarnkrok opened the scoring for Nashville 14:51 into the first period, but Crosby responded with a breakaway goal 1:06 later to tie the game. Predators rookie Frederick Gaudreau made it 2-1 at 3:45 of the second with his third goal of the series, and Rinne preserved the lead with a flurry of saves on another breakaway by Crosby and follow-up chances by Crosby and Guentzel. Rinne finished with 23 saves to help the Predators even the best-of-7 series 2-2. The Penguins were held without a power-play goal for the third straight game.

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm4: Gaudreau converts on a wraparound

 

June 8: Game 5, Stanley Cup Final, PPG Paints Arena: Penguins 6, Predators 0

Schultz scored a power-play goal 1:31 into the first period after Crosby drew a penalty on the first shift of the game, and Pittsburgh never looked back. Murray, who started despite struggling in Games 3 and 4, made 24 saves for his second shutout in nine starts during the 2017 postseason and third playoff shutout of his NHL career. Crosby and Kessel each had three points; Malkin and Hainsey each had a goal and an assist. Guentzel had an assist for his 21st point of the playoffs, tying Dino Ciccarelli and Ville Leino for the most by a rookie in Stanley Cup Playoff history.

Video: NSH@PIT, Gm5: Pens score six goals, take series lead

 

June 11: Game 6, Stanley Cup Final, Bridgestone Arena -- Penguins 2, Predators 0 

The Penguins completed the repeat, becoming the first team since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997 and 1998 to win the Stanley Cup in back-to-back seasons. Hornqvist scored with 1:35 left in the third period to give the Penguins a 1-0 lead against his former team. Hagelin made it 2-0 with an empty-net goal with 14 seconds remaining to seal Pittsburgh's fifth Cup win. Murray made 27 saves to become the fourth goalie to close a Final with back-to-back shutouts, first since Terry Sawchuk with the Red Wings in 1952. Crosby won his second consecutive Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the third player to do so, joining Mario Lemieux (1991, 1992) and Bernie Parent (1974, 1975).

Video: PIT@NSH, Gm6: Bettman awards Stanley Cup to Pens

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