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Stanley Cup Final

Penguins join select group of champions

Sullivan, Pittsburgh defeat Sharks, become sixth team to win Stanley Cup after in-season coaching change

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / Staff Writer

When the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 at SAP Center on Sunday to win the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in franchise history, they also became the sixth NHL team to win the Cup following a coaching change that season. Pittsburgh hired Mike Sullivan in December and never looked back, finishing the regular season as the hottest team in the League before its two-month run to the Cup.

Here's a look at the list:

2016: Pittsburgh Penguins (Mike Sullivan)

Prior to this season, Sullivan became coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate. Sullivan, who won a championship ring with the Chicago Blackhawks last season as their player development coach, had Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at 18-5-0-0. When Pittsburgh fired Mike Johnston on Dec. 12 with the Penguins underachieving (15-10-3), Sullivan was named coach. The Penguins lost his first four games but ended the regular season on a 33-16-5 run, including 14 wins in their final 16 games. The Penguins defeated the New York Rangers in five games, the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in six games and the defending Eastern Conference champion Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games before defeating the Sharks for their fourth Stanley Cup title.

2012: Los Angeles Kings (Darryl Sutter)

The Kings fired Terry Murray, who was in his fourth season with Los Angeles, on Dec. 12, 2011. Murray had a 13-12-4 record and was replaced by John Stevens, who went 2-2-0 before Sutter was named coach on Dec. 20. In 49 games under Sutter, the Kings went 25-13-11 to make the playoffs as a No. 8 seed and defeated the top three teams in the conference -- the Vancouver Canucks, St, Louis Blues and Phoenix Coyotes -- before eliminating the New Jersey Devils in six games to win the Stanley Cup for the first time. Sutter and the Kings became the first team to hold a 3-0 series lead in each round, and went 16-4 in the playoffs to become the first No. 8 seed to win the Cup.

2009: Pittsburgh Penguins (Dan Bylsma)

Pittsburgh fired Michel Therrien on Feb. 15 after a 27-25-5 record and the Penguins five points out of a playoff position. Bylsma, the coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton who had no NHL head coaching experience, took over. He went 18-3-4 during the regular season and 16-8 during the playoffs. Bylsma became the 14th coach to win the Cup in his first season and the second midseason replacement to win it in his first season (Al MacNeil did it with the 1971 Montreal Canadiens).

2000: New Jersey Devils (Larry Robinson)

With eight games left in the regular season, Robbie Ftorek was fired by the Devils on March 23, despite a 41-20-8-5 record. General manager Lou Lamoriello wasn't happy with the way the team was playing heading into the playoffs. Robinson went 4-4-0-0 in eight games to finish out the season. The Devils, the No. 4 seed, swept the Florida Panthers in the first round - New Jersey had been the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference the previous three seasons, losing twice in the first round and once in the second round -- before defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs in six games and coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference final. The Devils then defeated the Dallas Stars on a double-overtime goal by Jason Arnott in Game 6. New Jersey went 16-7 in the playoffs under Robinson to win its second Stanley Cup.

1971: Montreal Canadiens (Al MacNeil)

With the Canadiens (11-8-4) struggling and having missed the playoffs the previous season, Claude Ruel resigned 23 games into the season and was replaced by MacNeil. He led the Canadiens to third place in the East Division with a 31-15-9 record in 55 regular-season games, before riding rookie goalie Ken Dryden to playoff series wins against the Boston Bruins, Minnesota North Stars, and Chicago Blackhawks in the Cup Final.

1932: Toronto Maple Leafs (Dick Irvin)

After starting the season 0-3-2, the Maple Leafs fired coach Art Duncan and replaced him with Irvin, who went 23-15-5 the rest of the regular season. Irvin had led the Chicago Black Hawks to the Stanley Cup Final the season before but was fired after they were defeated by the Canadiens. The Maple Leafs, under Irvin, finished second in the Canadian Division, four points behind the Canadiens, defeating the Black Hawks in the first round and the Montreal Maroons in the second round before defeating the New York Rangers in the Cup Final.

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