The Pittsburgh Penguins have beaten the Nashville Predators to win the Stanley Cup. This is the first time that an NHL team have defended their title in almost two decades.
Patric Hornqvist's goal with just one minute and 35 seconds left in the third period turned out to be the winner as the Pittsburgh Penguins took Game 6 and the series in Nashville on Sunday night.
The goal was a strange one as Hornqvist shot the puck from behind the net, banking it off of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne and into the net. Nashville responded by pulling their netminder in a desperate bid to get an equalizer and force overtime, but the move backfired, with Carl Hagelin scoring into the empty net on a breakaway.
With the win, the Penguins won the best-of-seven series four games to two and became the first team to win a second consecutive Stanley Cup since the Detroit Red Wings defended their NHL title in 1998.
"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," said Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as most valuable player of the playoffs. He thus became only the third player in National Hockey League history to win the award in consecutive seasons.
"You have a small window to play and to have a career, and I feel fortunate, but I also understand how difficult it is, so you just want to try to make the best of it," Crosby added, who was also the MVP in the preseason World Cup, which was won by Canada.
Matt Murray stopped 27 shots for Pittsburgh, including four crucial blocks when Nashville failed to make the most of 3:28 of power-play time in the second period.
Rinne meanwhile had 27 saves on 28 shots, losing for just the second time on home ice in the playoffs.
Earlier, Nashville had appeared to score early in the second period when Colton Sissons jabbed the puck home off a rebound. However, the officials disallowed the goal, ruling that the whistle had blown before the puck crossed the line.
German national team player Tom Kühnhackl is among those who will see his name engraved on the Stanley Cup for a second consecutive season, although he did not see any action in the finals. He has been out of action since sustaining a lower-body injury in the quarterfinal series against Washington.
pfd/dv (AP, AFP, dpa)