Three-Peat? Penguins Favorites To Win 2018 Stanley Cup

The Stanley Cup clincher - game 6 of the Finals - also fell right in line with Crosby's numerical obsession as it was the 87th game of this year's National Hockey League postseason.

Injuries played a big role in Tampa Bay's inability to make the postseason but you can bet your bottom dollar that Steve Yzerman plans on having a busy summer. "Let's hope that the next feeling that we have is raising the Cup over our head and being Stanley Cup champions".

And the victory is more than just an accomplishment to celebrate; it's also a valuable marketing tool for Pittsburgh to attract players and off-ice staff. All within a calendar year.

Another teammate, Logan Couture, said it was "fun" to watch Crosby up close and lauded his vision, play with and without the puck and ability to burst into open space. The 1998 Red Wings were the last team to win a second consecutive Cup.

"It's just exciting", he said.

Crosby did have some help. Winning back-to-back titles wasn't as big of a deal for much of the NHL's history - through the 1970s and '80s, it wasn't uncommon to see teams win two, three or even four Stanley Cup titles in a row - but repeating has been notoriously hard in recent decades. Regardless, the score would still have been 1-0 Nashville and the fluky goal by Patric Hornqvist would have tied the game at 1-1. Penguins goalie Matt Murray stopped 27 shots to register back-to-back shutouts following a 24-save outing in a 6-0 win in Game 5.

"We knew it was going to be tough all year, but we just tried to keep with it", Crosby said. This says a lot about this team. It took a decade, but Ottawa finally made it back to the conference final for the first time since then this spring.

The Predators were 0 of 8 on the power play in the past two games and 4 of 18 in the series.

It's the no-goal call on Sissons, no doubt.

The disallowed goal will be remembered in Nashville for a long time.

It turned out the referee was in a bad position to see the puck and blew his whistle when he lost sight of the puck.

"I think (Evgeni Malkin) comes to mind right away", said Crosby. "It was tough for sure".

Sidney Crosby became the third player to win back to back Conn Smythe Trophies - and the first since his owner, Mario Lemieux, won two straight in 1991 and 1992. Several children in jerseys excitedly waited for autographs from their favorite players and coach Mike Sullivan emerged from the plane hoisting the Stanley Cup.

"He is in total control and it's awesome to witness", Brisson said in an email. "A lot of these guys played injured in the playoffs and showed a lot of character".

"He really is the best player in the world", said Couture glowingly. "He was our leader and picked up the team when we needed it". Well, that's a road no NHL team has taken since the league changed the playoff format to require teams to win four best-of-seven series. And the only rookies to ever post a shutout in the final series were Patrick Roy, in 1986, and Cam Ward, in 2006, with one apiece. It made this run without its top defenseman, Kris Letang, relying on a group of unheralded blue-liners who mostly came from other places.

It should also be noted that the Pens' Matt Murray became the first goalie to roll off consecutive shut-outs in the Finals since 2008. He scored at 19:01 for Chicago.

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