However, he quickly cemented his place as one of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton's best defensemen and parlayed that into a permanent spot in Pittsburgh the latter part of this season. It was a curious move at the time.
Kunitz opened the show with the first goal of the game, and then won it in double overtime when he took a pass from Crosby and knuckled his shot past Craig Anderson to send the Pens to the Stanley Cup Final. As the reigning champions, Pittsburgh was also a team that got its opponent's best effort in every game. Last year, smooth sailing, especially with the forward combinations. Never mind that his season started nearly nine months earlier with a World Cup of Hockey pre-tournament game. "And, you know, this coaching staff is so appreciative of how receptive they are to what we're preaching, and I think it starts with our leadership".
Well, take that, he said.
"It's been an awesome year from the start, trying to repeat", Lemieux said. We kept the same group together.
"Those little things add up to helping a team win games", Sullivan said. Then he made another bold promise, not all that different from his guarantee of a Game 3 win that proved true. "It was a gutsy, determined group of guys". Only one other player, beyond Crosby and Lemieux, has won back-to-back Smythes since the award was first given out in 1965. "We're still young, still hungry and of course we want more".
At 68, Rutherford has earned the right to rest on his laurels. That means the focus is on the New York Islanders with captain John Tavares, the Montreal Canadiens with Carey Price and the Oilers with McDavid. And besides losing one pivotal player after another during an excruciatingly long season, they were confronted by daunting odds. The Crosby-Malkin era had held such promise, but each star was aging out of his prime.
If it wasn't enough that the Penguins had the best player in the world, they have another who some might consider to be the second-best. If Crosby wasn't scoring, Malkin was. "That's how good they are".
Lord Stanley's Cup will be making a trip to Cole Harbour, N.S., for a second year in a row. Those teams were special because they were the first.
"Obviously, it's going to be the biggest goal I'm ever going to score", Hornqvist said. "But we all sat there and said, 'We've got to step up.' Our forwards stepped up. It's hard for us right now because our sights were set on winning the championship like anybody would be when you get to this point and for that, it's disappointing".
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So for me personally I have no reason to put my head down. "I left everything on the floor every game, all five games", he said. But the statistic most will point to after Cleveland's loss to Golden State is James' 3-5 record record in the Finals.
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She has not yet made a public commitment to joining a formal coalition which could see DUP MPs having roles in the government. Many within the Conservative Party now believe it is time for her to go and time for the party to choose a new leader.
It was the kind of performance that gets made into a Disney movie, but don't get used to it. With a true No. 1 defenceman in the line-up, Pittsburgh's one weakness will become a definite strength again.
On the blue line, Pittsburgh could lose Trevor Daley, who averaged more than 20 minutes per game this season.
Crosby finished these playoffs with 27 points in 24 games and now is tied for 10th all-time with 1.11 points per-game in the post-season (minimum 50 games).
Hagelin iced the game with 14 seconds left when, with Rinne out of the goal in favour of an extra attacker, he scored into the empty net. But the Penguins are in pretty decent shape.
There is room under the salary cap, although some of that is probably going toward a new contract for Johansen, a restricted free agent.
Trades could be coming fast and furious as Vegas GM George McPhee stockpiles assets in exchange for agreeing to select or not select players in the June 21 expansion draft.
However, if the Penguins did not have the effort and the contributions from their depth players, they never would have won their second straight Stanley Cup. Murray was motivated to reward Sullivan's trust, and did so by recording shutouts in Games 5 and 6.
The referee thought Murray had the puck but it had actually trickled just behind him and into the crease where Sissons had what should have been the opening goal.
Upon his return, Murray would go on to win six of the Penguins' final nine games on their way to a Stanley Cup victory.