Penguins Edge Predators to Win Stanley Cup
After the first five games of the 2017 Stanley Cup Finals were won by the home team, the Pittsburgh Penguins broke the string and pulled out a 1-0 win over the Predators in Nashville on June 11th taking the series 4 games to 2 and winning their second consecutive Stanley Cup.
After a scoreless first period, the Predators appeared to take the lead in the second when Colton Sissons tapped in the puck after a Filip Forsberg shot got past goalie Matt Murray just outside the goal line. But the official had blown the whistle before the tap in, and the score was disallowed. It was a quick whistle, probably blown because the official lost track of the puck and was not sure if Murray still had it. We asked an acquaintance who is a part time hockey official about the call, and he said it’s essentially correct if the official loses sight of the puck, but it’s bound to be controversial and the ref would inevitably be chastised as out of position. The fans at Bridgestone Arena certainly weren’t happy with it.
The game remained scoreless with sensational play in goal by both Murray and Pekka Rinne of Nashville, until Patric Hornqvist got one past Rinne with 1:35 left in the third period. It’s tough to come back with so little time remaining, and Nashville gamely fought back before falling short. Pittsburgh added an empty net goal by Carl Hagelin with 14 second left to make the final 2-0.
The Predators were shut out in the last two games of the series. It will be endlessly debated whether the disallowed goal cost the Predators the game, but Nashville did not take advantage of four power plays, including a 5 on 3. Pittsburgh had no power play opportunities in Game 6. Nonetheless, this has been a highly successful season for Nashville.
Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player in the playoffs for the second straight year. The Penguins are the first repeat Cup winners since the Detroit Red Wings won the ’97 and ’98 Stanley Cups.