BACK TO BACK
Head coach Mike Sullivan and the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators, 4-2, in the 2017 Stanley Cup Final to become the first NHL team since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings to win back-to-back championships.
Pittsburgh became the ninth franchise since the 1967 NHL Expansion to win two or more consecutive Stanley Cups. The Penguins (2017 & '16; 1992 and '91) joined the Edmonton Oilers (1988 & '87; 1985 & '84) and Montreal Canadiens (1976 to '79; 1969 & '68) as the only clubs in that span to win consecutive championships twice.
Pittsburgh becomes the first team in the Salary Cap Era (since 2005-06) to win back-to-back titles.
Pittsburgh became the first team since the 1992 Penguins to win the Stanley Cup and also lead the league in goal scoring in both the regular season and playoffs.
Patric Hornqvist earned a permanent spot in Pittsburgh sports lore by scoring the Cup-clinching goal. He joined Kris Letang (2016), Max Talbot (2009), Ron Francis (1992) and Ulf Samuelsson (1991) among players who have done so in club history.
ONE FOR THE THUMB
The Pittsburgh Penguins captured the franchise's fifth Stanley Cup, all of which have been earned since 1991. By winning a fifth title, the Penguins tied the Edmonton Oilers for the second-most Stanley Cup championships since the 1967 NHL Expansion behind the Montreal Canadiens (10 titles).
Pittsburgh has now won all five of its championships on the road. Only the Canadiens (10) have clinched more Stanley Cup titles away from home.
The Penguins joined the NFL's Steelers (6 championships) and MLB's Pirates (5 championships) as Pittsburgh sports franchises with at least five professional championships.
RUN OF EXCELLENCE
By winning a third Stanley Cup championship, the Penguins capped off a 10-year run that was unmatched among their peers. Pittsburgh's three Stanley Cup wins in that span are tied for the most in the league with Chicago, while the Penguins rank first in the NHL in every other significant category:
Penguins' NHL Ranks the Last 10 Years (2008-17)
| ||Number ||Rank |
|Stanley Cups ||3 ||1st |
|Stanley Cup Final Appearances ||4 ||1st |
|Conference Final Appearances ||5 ||1st |
|Playoff Wins ||90 ||1st |
|Playoff Games Played ||152 ||1st |
|Regular-Season Wins ||567 ||1st |
For the past decade, the core of the Pittsburgh Penguins has been the quartet of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang, and Marc-Andre Fleury. Eleven years after the four played together for the first time, they are now all three-time Stanley Cup champions.
Those three, plus forward Chris Kunitz, are the only Penguins players to play for all three of the franchise's Stanley Cup championships since 2009.
CROSBY WINS CONN SMYTHE TROPHY
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second-straight year as the MVP of the playoffs. He is the first player to win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies since Mario Lemieux (1991 and '92).
Crosby is just the third player in NHL history to win back-to-back Conn Smythe Trophies, joining Lemieux and Philadelphia's Bernie Parent (1974-75).
Crosby is the sixth player in NHL history to win two or more Conn Smythe Trophies, joining, Lemieux, Parent, Wayne Gretzky, Patrick Roy and Bobby Orr.
Crosby and Gretzky are the only players in NHL history to captain teams to three or more Stanley Cups AND win two Conn Smythe Trophies.
Video: Sid leads Pens to Cup win, earns second Conn Smythe
MALKIN PACES PLAYOFFS IN SCORING
Evgeni Malkin finished the playoffs as the leading scorer, the second time in his NHL career that he has done so. He also paced the league in scoring back in 2009 when the Pens won the Cup.
Last June, Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford became the first GM since the 1967 NHL Expansion to manage multiple teams to Stanley Cup championships when the Pens beat the San Jose Sharks. This year, the Penguins victory against the Nashville Predators puts Rutherford into another select group, one of just seven general managers since '67 to win three Stanley Cups.
In addition to his back-to-back crowns with Pittsburgh the last two years, Rutherford also won a Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. He also built the 'Canes into 2002 Stanley Cup Finalists (lost to Detroit).
Rutherford is one of four active GMs with three championships, joining Toronto's Lou Lamoriello, Detroit's Ken Holland and Chicago's Stan Bowman. Of the other six GMs with three Cups, only the active Holland and Bowman are enshrined in the Hall of Fame (Lamoriello is among the 4 already enshrined).
Of the 25 players to suit up for the Penguins during the 2017 postseason, 12 were acquired by Rutherford.
By guiding the Penguins to a Stanley Cup championship, head coach Mike Sullivan became the first American-born coach in NHL history to win multiple Stanley Cups. He defeated fellow U.S.-born bench boss Peter Laviolette in the first-ever Cup Final featuring two Americans behind the bench.
Last year, Sullivan joined Laviolette (Carolina, 2006), Dan Bylsma (Pittsburgh, 2009), John Tortorella (Tampa Bay, 2004), Bob Johnson (Pittsburgh, 1991) and Bill Stewart (Chicago, 1938) in the select group of American-born head coaches to win the Stanley Cup.
Sullivan became the second head coach to win Stanley Cups in his first two years behind the bench with a team, and the first since Montreal's Toe Blake. Blake won his first five years with the Canadiens from 1956-60.
By winning a second championship, Sullivan joined former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll (4 Super Bowls) and former Pittsburgh Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh (2 World Series) as the only three coaches in Pittsburgh's professional sports history to win multiple titles (Courtesy: Paul Zeise article in the Post-Gazette).
TOP ROOKIE PLAYOFF NETMINDER
Goaltender Matt Murray became the first goalie in NHL history to win Stanley Cups in each of his first two years in the league. In fact, since he is still a rookie, he is the first goalie to win the Cup twice as a rookie.
Murray earned back-to-back shutouts to close out the Predators, joining Marc-Andre Fleury as the only goalies in club history to record consecutive postseason shutouts.
Murray's win was his eighth in the Stanley Cup Final, surpassing Tom Barrasso to establish a new franchise record. According to NHL Tonight, Murray's eight Stanley Cup Final wins before his 25th birthday are tied with Terry Sawchuk for the second-most in NHL history behind Grant Fuhr (10).
Murray has now won 22 playoff games in his career, the most by a player in NHL history under the rookie designation.
Speaking of Fleury, by winning his third Stanley Cup championship, he becomes the only active NHL netminder with three Stanley Cup wins.
Forward Chris Kunitz became a four-time Stanley Cup champion with the Penguins' victory. That's the most Stanley Cup wins of any active NHL player.
Kunitz earned the second assist on Patric Hornqvist's Cup-clinching goal.
Kunitz has won three Stanley Cups (2017; '16; and; '09) with Pittsburgh, and one with the Anaheim Ducks back in 2007.
The Pens' seventh-leading scorer in club playoff history with 76 points (23G-53A), Kunitz secured Pittsburgh's ticket to the Cup Final by scoring in double overtime of the Pens' 3-2 Game 7 defeat of Ottawa in the Eastern Conference Final. Kunitz added six assists in six games played during the Stanley Cup Final. Only Sidney Crosby had more points among Pens in the Cup Final.
JAKE THE SNAKE
Jake Guentzel enjoyed a postseason run for the ages, scoring 13 goals and totaling 21 points. He equaled the rookie point mark shared with Dino Ciccarelli (1981) and Ville Leino.
Guentzel's 13 postseason goals are second-most in NHL playoff history by a rookie, behind only the 14 scored by Ciccarelli in 1981. He became the first rookie to lead the league in playoff goal scoring since the NHL took over the Stanley Cup.
Guentzel set an NHL rookie record by tallying five game-winning goals, which equaled the Pens' franchise record first set by Mario Lemieux in 1992.
Guentzel scored the game-winning goal in each of the first two games of the Stanley Cup Final, something only he and Lemieux (1992) have done in club history.
PHIL KESSEL IS A STANLEY CUP CHAMPION … AGAIN
General manager Jim Rutherford made the bold move to acquire Phil Kessel on July 1, 2015, and the move has paid off in a huge way. The Penguins have now won the Stanley Cup in both of Kessel's seasons with the team.
This year, Kessel had eight goals and 23 points in 25 playoff contests, the third-highest total among NHL players.
Over the last two years, Kessel had 18 goals, which led all NHL players during that span. His 45 points in that same span trailed only teammates Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin (46 each).
THIS 'N THAT
*By making it to the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins became the first NHL franchise since the 1967 NHL Expansion to make consecutive Stanley Cup Final appearances on three separate occasions (1991-92; 2008-09; and 2016-17).
*During the Stanley Cup Final, the Penguins moved into the top-five in total playoff goals with 1,118. They trail only Montreal (1,427), Boston (1,373), Philadelphia (1,282) and Chicago (1,212).
*Pittsburgh's 49 playoff games played over the last two years is the most by an NHL team in a two-year stretch in league history.
*The Penguins set a club record by winning 10 home games.