Penguins down Predators to retain Stanley Cup


12. juni 2017


The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2-0 on Sunday to clinch back-to-back Stanley Cup crowns in the first such title defense in nearly 20 years.

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Patric Hornqvist fired Pittsburgh into the lead with 1:35 left in the final period to silence a raucous home crowd in Nashville who had roared on their team, who ultimately fell to a 4-2 loss in the series.

Hornqvist’s killer blow — which deflected off Pekka Rinne — left Nashville exposed as they chased the game for an equaliser.

With the Predators goal empty, it was left to Carl Hagelin to score the coup de grace with a breakaway, triggering wild celebrations on the Penguins bench.

The Penguins became the first team to defend the Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings achieved the feat in 1998.

Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby, who was named the MVP of the series, said the Penguins had set themselves a goal of emulating Detroit at the start of the season.

«It’s pretty special, to be able to share this with this group of guys,» Crosby said. «A good chunk of the team were returning but for the new guys it’s pretty special.

«This was our goal at the beginning of the year — we knew that it hadn’t been done in a long time. So to be able to accomplish it is a great feeling.»

Crosby said Pittsburgh had been buoyed by their emphatic performance in Game 5, when they romped to a 6-0 win to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.

«I think all playoffs long we got better as the series went on and we tried to do that in this series,» Crosby said.

Penguins coach Mike Sullivan praised the work ethic of his team.

«You don’t win championships without character, and I believe we have it in abundance in our dressing room,» Sullivan said.

«This coaching staff is so appreciative of this group of players and what they go through. We push them hard to try to get the best out of them, and these guys embrace every challenge we give them.»

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