Thoughts, musings and observations from the Pens' 2-0 against the Predators in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Bridgestone Arena.
*This is the gutsiest and toughest Pittsburgh Penguins team to ever win the Stanley Cup. They did it despite missing key players in their lineup. Through blood and sweat, these guys battled through endless adversity win their second consecutive Cup.
The Pens are now the first team to win the Cup in back-to-back seasons since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings. And they did it the old fashioned way: They earned it.
*Goaltender Matt Murray was brilliant. At the age of 23, he now is the only rookie in NHL history to start and win two Stanley Cup Finals. He was poised in the net and never rattled. Murray exuded confidence and it showed in his play.
Murray was perfect between the pipes, stopping all 27 shots he faced to post his second career Cup Final shutout and second-straight shutout. After allowing 8 goals in Games 3 and 4 combined, Murray gave up zero in Games 5 and 6. He stopped the final 51 shots of the Final.
*The Pens have their PK to thank for winning this game. It was the biggest factor in keeping the Preds off of the scoreboard. Pittsburgh went a perfect 4-for-4 while shorthanded.
But the biggest moment of the game came halfway through the third period when defensemen Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley took back-to-back penalties, giving the Preds a 5-on-3 for 32 seconds.
The trio of Ian Cole, Brian Dumoulin and the 40-year-old Matt Cullen did the job on that two-man disadvantage. But it was an all-around group effort from the PKers that got the job done.
*It was fitting that Patric Hornqvist scored the Cup-winning goal against his former team. And in dramatic fashion with just 95 seconds left in regulation.
Justin Schultz took a shot from the midpoint that hit the end boards behind the net. Hornqvist, from below the goal line, threw it toward the net. The puck banked off of Pekka Rinne and into the goal.
*This was exactly the type of game I was expecting, very conservative and tight. Neither team wanted to make a risky play or take any chances.
Defensemen used their walls for clears in the defensive zone. The first priority of everyone while in their own zone was simply getting the puck out. Not rushing, not attacking, just out. When there was no lane in the neutral zone both teams would dump the puck and try to regain possession.
There were a few moments where a bad line change or an odd puck bounce would open up the play a little bit. But they were few and far between.
*The Preds suffered an unfortunate circumstance in the second period when it appeared Colton Sissons had scored to give them a 1-0 lead. However, the referee prematurely blew the whistle for loosing sight of the puck. The goal was disallowed. It proved not only costly, but fatal.