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Added June 14th, 2016 by Ian

Pittsburgh Penguins capture their fourth Stanley Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the 2015/16 Stanley Cup in six games with their 3-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks at the SAP Arena in San Jose, California on Sunday, June 12th. This is the fourth Stanley Cup triumph in the team’s 48-year history and it comes exactly seven years to the day after their last championship. It’s also the fourth time they’ve won it on the road. They also won the title in 1990/91 and 1991/92. In addition, Penguins’ captain Sidney Crosby won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs and finished the postseason with six goals and 13 assists. The Sharks were attempting to become the first club since the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs to win a Final series after falling behind three games to one. In fact, the Leafs won their series in seven games after losing the first three.

Penguins’ fans didn’t think their team had much of a chance at capturing the silverware earlier in the season when the squad was struggling. Mike Johnston was fired as head coach back on December 12th and the side’s fortunes turned around when he was replaced by Mike Sullivan. The Penguins are now the sixth franchise in NHL history to capture the Stanley Cup after changes coaches during the season. Crosby said the team added a lot of players during the campaign and it what they achieved was pretty special because of it. He mentioned that it takes a special squad of players to come together and gel so quickly and be successful.

San Jose was playing in its first-ever Stanley Cup Final in the 25-year history of the club. However, the team managed to lead for just 49 minutes and 15 seconds of the series that lasted for 374 minutes and 53 seconds. Joe Pavelski, the Sharks’ captain told the media that his team didn’t create enough scoring chances and didn’t play its best hockey of the playoffs. The Penguins scored the first goal in five of the six contests and then frustrated the Sharks as they attempted to chase the games. Pittsburgh led game six 2-1 after the second period and the Sharks could muster just two shots on net in the entire third period when facing elimination. Pittsburgh also beat the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals and New York Rangers on the way to the Final.

It was also a feather in the cap for Pittsburgh to win the Cup with 22-year-old rookie Matt Murray playing in net. Murray tied an NHL record for a rookie by winning 15 postseason games in a campaign. The only other goalies to achieve the feat were Cam Ward of the Carolina Hurricanes in 2005/06, Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers in 1986/87 and Patrick Roy of the Montreal Canadiens in 1985/86. Penguins’ defenceman Kris Letang assisted on all four game-winning goals in the series and became just the fourth player in history to achieve the feat of being involved by scoring or setting up all winning goals in a final series. The others were Milt Schmidt of the Boston Bruins in 1940/41, Jean Beliveau of the Montreal Canadiens in 1964/65 and Wayne Gretzky of the Edmonton Oilers in 1986/87.

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