The Pittsburgh Penguins 2-0 defeat of the Nashville Predators on the road in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final secured the franchise’s fifth title in its 50-year history. Both teams were deadlocked 0-0 in a competitive series at Bridgestone Arena deep into the third period until the Penguins’ RW Patric Hornqvist fired a quick shot from virtually behind the net off Goaltender Pekka Rinne’s left elbow with 1:35 remaining.
Instantly, the once boisterous Music City crowd was silenced and reflective only to become completely funereal as Pittsburgh’s LW Carl Haegelin provided the coup de grâce with a wrist shot on an empty net for an insurance goal at 19:46. When the final horn sounded, the ebullient Penguins were observed celebrating on the ice and along the bench as debris showered the playing surface without endangering any of the players.
The two consecutive championships by Pittsburgh was an unseen mirabilia since the Detroit Red Wings achieved it around the inception of the Nashville Predators as an expansion team in the National Hockey League. The Penguins had not witnessed this achievement since their co-owner, Mario Lemieux, won the Conn Smythe Trophy for them in 1992.
Although the Nashville Predators and fans alike were disappointed at the end of an excellent season, a number of them remained inside of the arena until each Penguin had the opportunity to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup above their head as a sign of respect. Nashville’s ascendency also proved that the sport of ice hockey could be a fixture in non-traditional regions if the club is managed reasonably well.
Mismanagement resulted in the demise of the Atlanta Thrashers who were established one year later than the Predators in 1999. The parsimony of the multi-headed dragon representing ownership doomed this franchise approximately four years after their only playoff entry that resulted in a sweep by the New York Rangers in 2007. Nevertheless, the former moribund franchise was acquired by ownership in Winnipeg, and the resurrected Jets have not enjoyed tremendous success either following a 4-0 sweep by the Anaheim Ducks in a meaningless playoff run in 2015.
Therefore, the Nashville Predators have assembled a talented core with Mike Fisher, Roman Josi, Colton Sissons, P.K. Subban, et cetera that should win a championship in the near future with minor adjustments. They just were overmatched with a formidable and experienced hockey club that just knew how to make things happen in their favor when they needed to the most.
Pittsburgh was victorious in one of the world’s most challenging sports with Sidney Crosby, Patrick Hornqvist, Matt Murray, and Phil Kessel holding the team together. Of course, winning a championship in Pittsburgh has become par for the course for them along with the Steelers and Pirates.
In conclusion, this series was beneficial for the NHL because it moves the league further away from the labor and lockout issues back in 2004-2005 by becoming a distant memory. While other media outlets attempt to ignore this incredible game with tepid coverage, NBC Sports has continued to provide excellent broadcasts of every single contest from the regular season to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Gradually, people are more willing to gravitate to the National Hockey League because of the relatability to its players and the like.