Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Pittsburgh Penguins

How Penguins Won Stanley Cup

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins didn't have an easy road on their way to winning the Stanley Cup for the fourth time in their history.

The Penguins defeated the past two Eastern Conference champions, the New York Rangers and Tampa Bay Lightning, with a six-game win in the Eastern Conference Second Round against the Presidents' Trophy-winning Washington Capitals in between, to get to the Stanley Cup Final. They then defeated the Western Conference champion San Jose Sharks in six games to win the Cup for the first time since 2009.

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

April 13: Game 1, Eastern Conference First Round, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 5, Rangers 2

Goalie Jeff Zatkoff made 35 saves in his first career Stanley Cup Playoff start to help the Penguins take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series. Forward Patric Hornqvist scored three goals and had one assist, and center Sidney Crosby has two assists.

Zatkoff was the third-string goalie for much of the regular season but got the call after longtime starter Marc-Andre Fleury and rookie backup Matt Murray each was sidelined by a concussion. Zatkoff stopped the first 28 shots he faced before Rangers center Derick Brassard's third-period goal.

April 16: Game 2, Eastern Conference First Round, Consol Energy Center

Rangers 4, Penguins 2

J.T. Miller assisted on all three of the Rangers' second-period goals to help New York even the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

Phil Kessel scored twice for the Penguins, and Nick Bonino had two assists. Zatkoff made 24 saves.

Pittsburgh led 1-0 midway through the second, but New York's Keith Yandle, Brassard and Mats Zuccarello scored in a span of 4:14. Chris Kreider scored 39 seconds into the third to make it 4-1, and Henrik Lundqvist made 29 saves.

April 19: Game 3 Eastern Conference First Round, Madison Square Garden

Penguins 3, Rangers 1

Matt Cullen broke a 1-1 tie at 4:16 of the third period, and Murray made 16 saves for his first Stanley Cup Playoff win.

"I thought [Murray] was real solid," Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. "He's got a real calm demeanor in there. I think he reads plays well. He was tracking the puck. When he needed to make the timely saves for us, he did."

Rick Nash gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead when he scored a shorthanded goal 39 seconds into the second period, but the Penguins tied the game when Crosby scored a power-play goal at 19:18.

The Penguins limited New York to four third-period shots. Defenseman Kris Letang scored an empty-net goal at 19:47 of the third period to seal the win.

April 21: Game 4, Eastern Conference First Round, Madison Square Garden

Penguins 5, Rangers 0

Pittsburgh scored three first-period goals, Murray made 31 saves, and the Penguins won their second straight playoff game in New York.

Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and had two assists; his power-play goal at 4:00 of the second period chased Lundqvist, who allowed four goals on 18 shots. Crosby, Conor Sheary and Eric Fehr scored.

April 23: Game 5, Eastern Conference First Round, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 6, Rangers 3

Murray made 38 saves, and Bryan Rust scored two goals and had one assist to help the Penguins eliminate the Rangers and advance to the second round.

The game was tied 2-2 after the first period, but the Penguins scored four straight goals, chasing Lundqvist for the second straight game.

Crosby had two assists, Cullen had a goal and an assist, and 11 Penguins had at least one point.

April 28: Game 1, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center

Capitals 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

Capitals forward T.J. Oshie completed the first playoff hat trick of his NHL career with the game-winning goal at 9:33 of overtime.

Andre Burakovsky scored a first-period goal, Braden Holtby made 42 saves, and the Capitals improved to 5-2 in the 2016 playoffs.

Ben Lovejoy, Bonino and Malkin scored goals, but the Penguins lost on the road for the first time in the 2016 playoffs. Murray made 31 saves in losing a postseason game for the first time in his NHL career.

April 30: Game 2, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center

Penguins 2, Capitals 1

Fehr's goal at 15:32 of the third period broke a 1-1 tie and evened the best-of-7 series at 1-1.

Carl Hagelin had the other goal for Pittsburgh, and Murray made 23 saves.

Washington forward Marcus Johansson's power-play goal at 4:08 of the third period tied it 1-1. But Fehr, who played nine seasons for Washington before signing with Pittsburgh last summer, redirected Malkin's pass behind Holtby with 4:28 remaining in the third to give the Penguins the lead.

"It does feel a little bit different," Fehr said of scoring against his former team. "Obviously, I had a lot of years here, and to be able to get that one to tie up the series and bring it back home with a split is enormous for us."

May 2: Game 3, Eastern Conference Second Round, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 3, Capitals 2

Murray made 47 saves, including 19 in the third period, and the Penguins took a 2-1 series lead.

"I don't think I've had that many shots in quite some time," Murray said. "That was a busy one. … I wouldn't say it's any easier or any harder whether you face less or more shots. It's all mental, I think, at that point, so they're just different challenges."

Hornqvist, Tom Kuhnhackl and Hagelin each scored for the Penguins, who led 3-0 after two periods. Washington cut the lead to 3-2 on third-period goals by Alex Ovechkin and Justin Williams, but Murray and the Penguins hung on.

May 4: Game 4, Eastern Conference Second Round, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 3, Capitals 2 (OT)

Hornqvist scored 2:34 into overtime, giving the Penguins a 3-1 series lead.

Hornqvist assisted on Trevor Daley's first-period goal, and Cullen scored for Pittsburgh. Murray made 34 saves to improve to 6-1 in the playoffs.

Washington defenseman John Carlson tied it 2-2 with 3:41 left in the third period. In overtime, defenseman Brian Dumoulin kept the puck in the Capitals zone and fed Sheary, whose shot was deflected by Washington defenseman Mike Weber. The puck came right to Hornqvist, who beat Holtby.

May 7: Game 5, Eastern Conference Second Round, Verizon Center

Capitals 3, Penguins 1

Ovechkin and Oshie each had a goal and an assist, and Holtby made 30 saves to force Game 6 in Pittsburgh.

Chris Kunitz scored for the Penguins, and Murray made 16 saves.

May 9: Game 6, Eastern Conference Second Round, Consol Energy Center -- Penguins 4, Capitals 3 (OT)

Bonino scored at 6:32 of overtime to send the Penguins to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time since 2013.

Kessel scored twice and Hagelin once for Pittsburgh. The Penguins built a 3-0 lead, but the Capitals came back and tied it on Carlson's power-play goal at 13:01 of the third period.

Pittsburgh outshot Washington 7-3 in overtime, and after Holtby stopped Hagelin's initial shot, Bonino put the rebound under him.

"It's the best feeling in the game right there, to win a series and have your teammates around you," Bonino said. "I can't put it into words right now. I still have chills a little bit."

May 13: Game 1, Eastern Conference Final, Consol Energy Center

Lightning 3, Penguins 1

Ondrej Palat had a goal and an assist, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 25 saves in relief of injured starter Ben Bishop to help the Tampa Bay Lightning win the series opener.

Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn scored, and Valtteri Filppula had two assists for Tampa Bay, which won wins its fifth straight playoff game.

Hornqvist scored, and Murray made 17 saves for Pittsburgh, which had its four-game home playoff win streak ended.

May 16: Game 2, Eastern Conference Final, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 3, Lightning 2 (OT)

Crosby scored 40 seconds into overtime, his first goal in eight games, to pull the Penguins even at 1-1 in the best-of-7 series.

Cullen and Kessel scored first-period goals to give the Penguins an early 2-0 lead, but the Lightning tied it 2-2 late in the first on goals by Anton Stralman and Drouin.

In overtime, Rust took a pass from Dumoulin and found Crosby, whose one-timer beat Vasilevskiy.

May 18: Game 3, Eastern Conference Final, Amalie Arena

Penguins 4, Lightning 2

Hagelin and Kessel each had a goal and an assist, pushing the Penguins to a 2-1 lead in the series.

Pittsburgh outshot Tampa Bay 21-6 in the second period.

"We had a really strong second period, and we deserved to score a couple goals," said Hagelin, who put the Penguins ahead 1-0 when he scored with 10 seconds remaining in the second period. "But [Vasilevskiy] played great. Anytime you can score 10 seconds before the period is over, it is definitely a momentum boost for your team."

Kessel made it 2-0 with his seventh goal of the playoffs at 5:16 of the third period. After Tyler Johnson cut Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1, Crosby and Kunitz scored to give the Penguins a three-goal lead. Murray made 26 saves.

May 20: Game 4, Eastern Conference Final, Amalie Arena

Lightning 4, Penguins 3

Ryan Callahan scored 27 seconds into the game, and the Lightning built a 4-0 lead before holding off a Pittsburgh rally to even the series at 2-2.

Vasilevskiy made 35 saves, and defenseman Victor Hedman had two assists for Tampa Bay. Andrej Sustr, Johnson and Drouin scored for the Lightning, who chased Murray after two periods.

Fleury, in his first action since sustaining a concussion March 31, made saves on all seven shots he faced in relief. Kessel, Malkin and Kunitz had third-period goals, but the Penguins' comeback fell short because Vasilevskiy made 13 saves in the third period.

May 22: Game 5, Eastern Conference Final, Consol Energy Center

Lightning 4, Penguins 3 (OT)

Johnson redirected defenseman Jason Garrison's shot past Fleury 53 seconds into overtime, moving the Lightning within one victory of their second straight trip to the Cup Final.

Nikita Kucherov scored two goals, including one on a wraparound at 16:44 of the third period that tied it 3-3. He also assisted on Johnson's game-winner. The Lightning rallied from an early 2-0 hole when Alex Killorn and Kucherov scored 1:05 apart in the second period.

Fleury made 21 saves in his first start in more than seven weeks. Dumoulin, Hornqvist and Kunitz scored for Pittsburgh.

May 24: Game 6, Eastern Conference Final, Amalie Arena

Penguins 5, Lightning 2

Facing elimination for the first time in the 2016 playoffs, the Penguins built a 3-0 lead and hung on to force Game 7.

Kessel, Letang and Hornqvist each scored in the first period. After two goals from Brian Boyle cut the lead to 3-2, Rust scored at 17:52 of the third to put the Penguins up 4-2.

After sitting in favor of Fleury in Game 5, Murray got the start and made 28 saves, including 17 in the third period.

May 26: Game 7, Eastern Conference Final, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 2, Lightning 1

Rust scored twice, Malkin had two assists, and Murray made 16 saves to help the Penguins reach the Cup Final for the first time since 2009.

Thirty seconds after Drouin tied it 1-1 at 9:36 of the second period, Rust put Pittsburgh ahead when he banked a rebound off Vasilevskiy and into the net. It was the first game-winning goal in a playoff game in Rust's two-season NHL career.

"The big dream is still yet to be achieved," Rust said. "I credit my linemates for elevating their game and helping me elevate mine. It just happens that I was the one who put the pucks in the net."

May 30: Game 1, Stanley Cup Final, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 3, Sharks 2

Bonino scored at 17:27 of the third period to break a 2-2 tie and give the Penguins a 1-0 lead in the best-of-7 series.

In their first Stanley Cup Final game at Consol Energy Center, the Penguins outshot the Sharks 15-4 in the first period and took a 2-0 lead on goals by Rust and Sheary 1:02 apart.

Tomas Hertl's goal at 3:02 of the second period made it 2-1, and Patrick Marleau tied it when he scored with 1:48 left in the period. Murray made 11 of his 24 saves in the second.

June 1: Game 2, Stanley Cup Final, Consol Energy Center

Penguins 2, Sharks 1 (OT)

Sheary's goal 2:35 into overtime gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 series lead.

Crosby won a faceoff cleanly to Letang, who found Sheary between the circles for a shot that beat Sharks goalie Martin Jones. The goal was Sheary's fourth of the 2016 playoffs and second in as many games in the Final.

"It's surreal," Sheary says. "Important moment. Most important, we got the win and we're up 2-0 right now."

Kessel scored his Penguins-leading 10th goal of the playoffs at 8:20 of the second period to make it 1-0. The lead stood until Justin Braun's slap shot beat Murray with 4:05 left in the third period, forcing overtime.

June 4: Game 3, Stanley Cup Final, SAP Center

Sharks 3, Penguins 2 (OT)

Rookie forward Joonas Donskoi scored at 12:18 of overtime to give the Sharks the first Cup Final win in their 25-year history.

San Jose forward Joel Ward tied it with a power-play goal at 8:48 of the third period, Braun scored his second goal in as many games, and Jones made 40 saves.

Murray had 23 saves for Pittsburgh, and Hornqvist and Lovejoy scored.

June 6: Game 4, Stanley Cup Final, SAP Center

Penguins 3, Sharks 1

Malkin got his first two points of the series, including the game-winning goal on the power play at 2:37 of the second period, and Pittsburgh moved within one win of the Cup.

Murray made 23 saves, and Fehr and Ian Cole scored. Cole's goal at 7:36 of the first period put Pittsburgh ahead. It was his first goal since March 26, 2015, a span of 104 regular-season and playoff games.

Melker Karlsson scored in the third period for San Jose, and Jones made 17 saves.

June 9: Game 5, Stanley Cup Final, Consol Energy Center

Sharks 4, Penguins 2

Jones made 44 saves, and the Sharks kept their season alive. Each team scored twice in the first 5:06 of the first period, but Karlsson's goal at 14:47 put San Jose ahead 3-2. Jones made the lead stand up until Joe Pavelski hit the empty net with 1:20 to play.

After allowing two goals on Pittsburgh's first four shots, Jones made 42 consecutive saves. The Penguins lost despite outshooting the Sharks 46-22 and out-attempting them 76-36.

June 12: Game 6, Stanley Cup Final, SAP Center

Penguins 3, Sharks 1

Letang scored at 7:46 of the second period to break a 1-1 tie, and the Penguins stifled the Sharks to win their first championship in seven seasons. Letang's goal came 1:19 after San Jose's Logan Couture had tied the game. Hornqvist hit the empty net with 1:02 remaining in the third period.

The Penguins limited the Sharks to two shots on goal in the third period and 19 for the game against Murray; they blocked 33 others. Crosby, who assisted on the goals by Letang and Hornqvist, won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.

View More