The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2 – 0 yesterday to become the second back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions of the salary cap era since the Detroit Red Wings of 1998 – 1999.
Pittsburgh sent the home group of Nashville supporters home unfulfilled, although they could take pride in the first Stanley Cup Finals appearance by their team since they began NHL play 19 seasons’ ago.
Those with the patience to watch the entire game saw a match that was dead even until the last minute and a half of the game and appeared headed to overtime, as shots on goal by both sides were limited and both net minders performed magnificently.
Nashville had a goal disallowed in the first minute of the second period of game six of the series. The goal was legal and clean, but was waved off when one of the officials stepped in and announced that it has been his intention to stop play prior to the puck finding the back of the net. The justification was that the official had lost sight of the puck, in which event he can, and did, whistle the play dead.
For the Predators, it was only the second time in the playoffs this season that they lost a home game, but it came at the worst possible time, with their trailing the best-of-seven series 3 – 2.
Patric Hornqvist scored the winner for the Penguins with 1:35 remaining in regulation. Nashville was forced, in desperation, into pulling its goalie for an extra attacker, and when the puck got loose, a Penguin was able to pick it up and skate it into the goal with a mere 13 seconds remaining on the clock.
Repeating as Stanley Cup Champions was not easy for the Penguins. They were pushed to seventh games by the Washington Capitals and the Ottawa Senators.
Teams with politically inspired names are obviously a challenge for the Penguins.