Sidney Crosby fans celebrate Cup win with pilgrimage to famous dryer

Sidney Crosby fans celebrate Cup win with pilgrimage to famous dryer

With the destiny of the Stanley Cup in the balance, a determined Crosby delivered a dominating performance right from the opening shift, when he rang a shot off the post while being pulled down to the ice by a Predators defenseman.

Patric Hornqvist's goal with just over a minute and half left in regulation proved to be the game-winner, with Carl Hagelin's empty-netter sealing the deal. Penguins goaltender Matt Murray made 27 saves for his second straight shutout.

Last year, the Penguins also clinched the Cup on a Sunday, and the parade was held the following Wednesday.

Conn Smythe Trophy, for the most valuable player in the playoffs, was awarded to Sidney Crosby, also for the second year in a row.

Chris Kunitz, a three-time Stanley Cup-champion, seems unlikely to be back at 37 years old.

The last franchise to go back-to-back was the Detroit Red Wings, whose ridiculously talented Steve Yzerman-led teams won in 1997 and 1998. As the playoff MVP, Crosby finished with eight goals and 19 assists during this year's playoff run.

Though he did not play in Sunday's game, Bonino suited up in full uniform for the postgame trophy presentation.

The Penguins committed to having a stellar core of forwards by drafting Evgeni Malkin in 2004 and Sidney Crosby in 2005.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby deserved mention among the all-time greats and was "arguably" the finest player in his generation, but that debate has always been over. But if Pittsburgh could repeat this season with a banged-up roster and one of the hardest paths to the final series, the Penguins have earned the right to be considered favorites again next season, when the team could cement its status as one of the NHL's great dynasties.

The Penguins won the final series, four games to two. Hope you didn't get salmonella.

From the reported crowds of 40,000 in downtown Nashville to watch the Preds, to the country music stars singing the National Anthem, to the catfish, and to the frenzied Preds fans and their chants, Nashville was officially a "hockey town" for two months. The Predators appeared to take the lead in the second period. "If you could somehow put our two goaltenders on there - you know, there were games that they stole for us throughout the playoffs". I mean dreams come true. Crosby is a 2016-17 finalist for the Hart Trophy. The Penguins have been built around elite offensive players for over a decade now, it just took until now for them to figure out that the defence only had to be good enough to not them games.

Crosby became the sixth multiple victor of the Conn Smythe Trophy since it was first handed out in 1965 and the third to win it in consecutive seasons, joining Philadelphia's Bernie Parent (1974 and 1975) and Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux (1991 and 1992). As a true No. 1 center, Johansen will command big coin, and his absence during the Stanley Cup Final after emergency thigh surgery was a difference-maker.

"He's pretty inspirational when he plays that way and gets to a level that not many guys can get to", veteran Matt Cullen said. In the end, the Penguins had more than enough in the tank to bring home another title.

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