Skip to main content
Stanley Cup Final

Penguins' timeline to Stanley Cup

Pittsburgh endured wild ride from first-round exit in 2015 to champions in 2016

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / NHL.com Senior Writer

SAN JOSE -- The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in their history with a 3-1 victory against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center on Sunday.

Here is a timeline of events detailing how the Penguins went from first-round losers last season to Stanley Cup champions this season:

April 24, 2015: Carl Hagelin, then a member of the New York Rangers, ends the Penguins 2014-15 season with a goal at 10:52 of overtime in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round.

May 12, 2015: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League, the Penguins' top affiliate, is eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs. Goalie Matt Murray, defenseman Brian Dumoulin, and forwards Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust were a part of the team.

June 18, 2015: Mike Sullivan is named coach of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

July 1, 2015: Forward Phil Kessel is acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Sheary is re-signed to a two-year contract.

July 28, 2015: Forward Nick Bonino is acquired in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks. Forward Eric Fehr is signed to a three-year contract.

Aug. 6, 2015: Forward Matt Cullen is signed to a one-year contract.

Sept. 13, 2015: The Penguins finish 2-1 at the rookie tournament in London, Ontario. The team is coached by Sullivan. Rust, Sheary and Murray play in the tournament.

Oct. 8, 2015: Penguins lose season-opener 3-0 at the Dallas Stars.

Oct. 15, 2015: Pittsburgh gets its first win of the season 2-0 against the Ottawa Senators at Consol Energy Center. The Penguins had lost their first three games.

Oct. 20, 2015: In his fifth game of season, forward Sidney Crosby scores his first goal and earns his first three points of the season in a 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers.

Video: FLA@PIT: Crosby puts Penguins on top with PPG in 1st

Oct. 31, 2015: Kessel returns to Toronto for the first time. He doesn't get a point, but the Penguins win 4-0.

Dec. 11, 2015: Penguins lose 3-2 in a shootout at the Los Angeles Kings.

Dec. 12, 2015: Coach Mike Johnston is fired. Sullivan is promoted from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to be Pittsburgh's new coach.

Dec. 14, 2015: Defenseman Trevor Daley is acquired in a trade from the Chicago Blackhawks for defenseman Rob Scuderi. The Penguins lose their first game under Sullivan 4-1 against the Washington Capitals.

Dec. 15, 2015: Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury is diagnosed with the first of two concussions this season.

Dec. 19, 2015: In his NHL debut, Murray makes 24 saves in a 2-1 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, the Penguins' fifth straight defeat.

Dec. 21, 2015: The Penguins defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-2 for their first win under Sullivan. They were 0-4 in his first four games as coach. Murray makes 22 saves for his first career NHL win.

Jan. 2, 2016: Fleury is activated off injured reserve and makes 38 saves in his return, a 5-2 win against the New York Islanders. Murray is reassigned to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Jan. 6, 2016: Forward Evgeni Malkin and defenseman Kris Letang are named as Penguins representatives at the NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.

Jan. 7, 2016: Murray is among three players named to represent Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the AHL All-Star Classic. Kuhnhackl and Rust are recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

Jan. 12, 2016: Bonino sustains a hand injury that will keep him out for 17 straight games.

Jan. 16, 2016: Hagelin is acquired in a trade from the Anaheim Ducks for forward David Perron and defenseman Adam Clendening.

Jan. 22, 2016: Malkin goes on record to predict the Penguins will make the Stanley Cup Playoffs a day after a 4-3 win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Feb. 8, 2016: Crosby is named the NHL's First Star of the Week ending Feb. 7 and later has a four-point game in a 6-2 win against the Ducks. After starting the season with 22 points in 32 games before Christmas, Crosby has 31 points in the next 19 games.

Feb. 27, 2016: Defenseman Justin Schultz is acquired in a trade from the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. Murray is recalled from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

March 11, 2016: Malkin sustains an upper-body injury in a 3-2 win against the Blue Jackets, ending his regular season.

March 12, 2016: Sheary is recalled.

March 13, 2016: Sullivan unites Hagelin, Bonino and Kessel on a line in a 5-3 win against the New York Rangers.

March 17, 2016: The still-yet-to-be-named "HBK Line" of Hagelin, Bonino and Kessel combines for six points on two goals and four assists in a 4-2 win against Carolina.

Video: CAR@PIT: Bonino taps Kessel's dish past Lack

March 20, 2016: With a 6-2 win against Washington, the Penguins take over second place in the Metropolitan Division.

March 24, 2016: Defenseman Olli Maatta joins Malkin on the injured list, sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-0 loss against the New Jersey Devils. He misses the remainder of the regular season.

March 26, 2016: The "HBK Line" combines for 12 points in a 7-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings. Bonino and Kessel each have five points in the win.

April 1, 2016: Crosby is named the NHL's First Star of the Month for March, scoring 21 points on seven goals and 14 assists in 16 games.

April 2, 2016: Fleury misses his first game with his second concussion of the season. Murray gets the first shutout of his NHL career with 24 saves in a 5-0 win against the Islanders.

April 9, 2016: Murray sustains a concussion in the first period of a 3-1 regular-season ending loss against the Flyers.

April 13, 2016: Fleury occupies the "home" net in the morning skate before Game 1 of the Eastern Conference First Round against the New York Rangers, leading many to believe he would return from his concussion. Jeff Zatkoff instead starts and is backed up by Tristan Jarry. Zatkoff makes 35 saves in a 5-2 win. Forward Patric Hornqvist has a hat trick.

April 16, 2016: Malkin returns from his injury to make his playoff debut in Game 2 against the Rangers, but Zatkoff allows four goals on 28 shots in a 4-2 loss.

April 19, 2016: Murray makes his Stanley Cup Playoff debut with 16 saves in a 3-1 win against the Rangers in Game 3.

April 21, 2016: Murray makes 31 saves for his first career shutout in the NHL playoffs. The Penguins win 5-0 at Madison Square Garden.

Video: PIT@NYR, Gm4: Murray shuts out Rangers in Game 4

April 23, 2016: The Penguins advance to the second round with a 6-3 win against the Rangers.

May 4, 2016: Hornqvist scores the overtime winner in a 3-2 win against the Capitals to give the Penguins a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round series.

May 10, 2016: Bonino scores the series-clinching overtime winner to give the Penguins a 4-3 win against the Capitals in Game 6.

May 16, 2016: Crosby scores his first career Stanley Cup Playoff overtime goal to give the Penguins a 3-2 win in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning, tying the best-of-7 series 1-1.

May 20, 2016: Fleury plays in relief of Murray in the third period and makes seven saves in a 4-3 loss to the Lightning in Game 4. The Penguins rally with three goals in the third period but fall short.

May 22, 2016: Fleury gets his first start since March 31, but falters and allows four goals on 25 shots in a 4-3 overtime loss against Tampa Bay that puts the Penguins down 3-2 in the series.

May 24, 2016: Murray returns to the net and makes 28 saves in a 5-2 win at Tampa Bay to force a Game 7.

May 26, 2016: Murray makes 16 saves, and the Penguins win 2-1 in Game 7 to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.

May 30, 2016: Bonino scores with 2:33 left in the third period to lift the Penguins to a 3-2 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final.

June 1, 2016: With the score tied 2-2 in overtime, Crosby sets up a faceoff play on the fly, winning the draw to Letang, as he said he would, and eventually Sheary scores the overtime winner to give the Penguins a 3-2 win against the Sharks and a 2-0 lead in the Cup Final.

June 6, 2016: Malkin gets his first two points of the Cup Final, including the game-winning power-play goal, in a 3-1 win against the Sharks in Game 4 to lift the Penguins to a 3-1 lead in the series.

June 9, 2016: The Penguins fail to win the Cup on their first try, losing to the Sharks 4-2 in Game 5 of the Cup Final at Consol Energy Center.

June 12, 2016: The Penguins defeat the Sharks 3-1 in Game 6 at SAP Center to win the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in their history and first time since 2009. Crosby wins the Conn Smythe Trophy for the first time, becoming the 10th player in NHL history to own a Hart Trophy and a Conn Smythe Trophy.

Video: PIT@SJS, Gm6: Crosby talks about the Pens' journey

View More