SCF Game 6 Recap: Stanley Cup Champions!!! - PensInitiative | Pittsburgh Penguins Blog | Rumors | News

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Sunday, June 12, 2016

SCF Game 6 Recap: Stanley Cup Champions!!!

The fans gathered in Pittsburgh for Game 5 hoping to celebrate a Stanley Cup championship. Despite the letdown, nobody can argue with the final results. They weren't able to win it on home ice, but the Penguins will take the Stanley Cup back to Pittsburgh after a 3-1 win in Game 6 against the San Jose Sharks gave them the 4-2 series victory. Brian Dumoulin, Kris Letang, and Patric Hornqvist scored the goals for Pittsburgh, and Matt Murray stopped 18 of 19 shots against, including just 2 over the final 20 minutes to cement the victory.

It was a low event start to the 1st period, but one that saw the puck end up in the San Jose zone ofr a good portion of time. That nearly was for naught as Nick Bonino tried to do too much in transition and his turnover at the blueline gave Matt Nieto a chance to skate in on a 2-on-1. Matt Murray stopped Nieto's shot from the left circle, and the Penguins were able to clear away the rebound to neutralize the scoring chance against. Moments later, Dainus Zubrus took a tripping penalty on Brian Dumoulin along the right boards in the San Jose zone. And it'd be Dumoulin making the Sharks pay on the power play as his shot from the blue line cleanly beat Martin Jones to put Pittsburgh up 1-0.

Shortly after the goal, Melker Karlsson lost an edge going into the boards behind Murray, and his right knee appeared to take the brunt of the collision, though he would ultimately return.
San Jose would again get a breakaway after a collision at center ice gave Joel Ward a breakaway opportunity, but a tremendous effort by Chris Kunitz on the backcheck allowed him to cleanly knock the puck away and prevent Ward from getting off a shot. The play would lead to sustained pressure in the Pittsburgh zone, though they wouldn't be able to get the puck past Murray. The Pens had several great chances late in the period in close on the net by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, but Jones was up to the task and was able to maintain the one goal deficit. The team would get another great offensive possession from the HBK line great, but again Jones was able to shut the door.

The period would end with the lone Penguin goal, and both teams would come out with great chances to start the 2nd period. Murray was able to stop a couple San Jose chances in the opening minute, while Jones was able to just get his toe on a Bonino shot off a deflected pass from in close. The Penguins held the upper hand in the opening period, but it would be the Sharks who would control play to start the 2nd, forcing Murray to match Jones' level of play to keep the Pens ahead, but San Jose would eventually be able to break through. Pittsburgh was finally able to get the puck out of the zone after a long shift, but they weren't able to get it down the ice, and Logan Couture beat Murray five-hole to tie the game 1-1.

However, it wouldn't stay tied for long. It was the Penguins' turn to get strong offensive pressure in the other team's zone, and it ended with Crosby finding Kris Letang in the slot, and the blueliner's shot trickled through Jones' blocker and into the net to restore the one goal advantage, 2-1 Pittsburgh. Late in the period, Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin generated a great scoring chance on a 2-on-1, but after a great pass by Malkin to give Kunitz an open look, Kunitz passed on a wide open net to give it back to Geno, and with Malkin not expecting the puck he wasn't able to corral it and put it into the empty net. It was a missed opportunity, but the Penguins were still able to enter the locker room with a one goal lead heading into the second intermission.

The puck would drop for the 3rd period with the Pens just 20 minutes away from lifting the Stanley Cup if they could continue their strong play and maintain their lead. Conor Sheary would be called for hooking Justin Braun as the puck bounced back towards the San Jose zone, though the replay would seem to indicate that Braun lost his footing on his own. Either way, the Sharks would head onto the power play for the first time on the night, but a great team effort by the Pens would keep them from threatening.

Midway through the period, San Jose had a golden opportunity to tie the game when Joe Pavelski got the puck on the crease with no defenders on him, but Ben Lovejoy stuck his skate out to break up his cross crease pass to Joe Thornton, and the Pens were able to clear the puck from the goal mouth to shut down the scoring chance. Pittsburgh would go back on the power play moments later, when Brent Burns slashed Phil Kessel to prevent a breakaway, breaking Kessel's stick and forcing the refs to whistle him for the minor penalty.

With the Penguins playing things a bit more conservatively with a second defenseman on the ice, the Sharks were able to kill of Burns' penalty and return the teams to 5-on-5 play. The Pens nearly got an insurance marker moments later when Kunitz made a great pass from the right boards to find Kessel on the far post, but Jones was able to go cross crease to get his pad on the shot. It would be a frantic finish to the game, but it was an incredible defensive effort by the Penguins on the Sharks, limiting San Jose to just one shot in the 3rd period entering the final minutes. Martin Jones would head to the bench with 1:47 left on the clock, but Patric Hornqvist was able to score the empty netter to ice the fourth Stanley Cup Championship in franchise history.

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