Patric Hornqvist bounced the puck off Pekka Rinne’s back and into the net following a missed point shot by Justin Schultz with 1:35 remaining in the third period as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Nashville Predators 2-0 in a controversial Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final.
The win secured Pittsburgh’s second straight championship. Thanks to one of the more bizarre Cup-clinching goals in recent league history, Pittsburgh took the series 4-2 and became the first team to win back-to-back titles in the salary-cap era.
Matt Murray earned the shutout with 27 saves, and Rinne made 27 saves for the Predators as the Cup Final went six games for the fifth time in six years.
The Predators thought they had opened the scoring early in the second period, only to be foiled by a premature whistle. Filip Forsberg’s shot from the wing just over a minute into the second period squeaked through Murray, giving Sissons a loose puck and a wide-open net. But referee Kevin Pollock, situated in the corner facing Murray and likely thinking the Penguins goalie had secured the puck, blew the whistle before Sissons’ one-handed diving effort poked the loose puck into the net.
Penguins captain Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP. In 24 postseason games, Crosby led the league with 19 assists, and his 27 points were second behind that of teammate Malkin. The back-to-back Cup titles and playoff MVPs further pad one of the more astounding résumés in modern sports history. Crosby’s accolades include two Olympic gold medals, a World Cup title, a golden goal at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, the Hart Trophy as league MVP in 2007 and 2014, the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer in 2014 and the Maurice Richard Trophy as the league’s top goal scorer in 2010 and 2017.
The win was also the 4th Stanley Cup title for Regina’s Chris Kunitz. He has won one with the Anaheim Ducks, and three with Pittsburgh.