As judged by Conn Smythe Trophy voters, Sidney Crosby was the Pittsburgh Penguins' best forward — and best player — in the post-season, but it was Kris Letang who was undoubtedly the Penguins’ top blueliner throughout the post-season. It’s fitting then that Pittsburgh clinched the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup on a goal that saw Crosby and Letang link up.
With the Penguins having their second chance to close out the Sharks and take the Cup, Pittsburgh made sure to keep any glimmer of hope San Jose may have had to a minimum. The Penguins opened the scoring on a power play tally by Brian Dumoulin in the first period, but the SAP Center exploded less than seven minutes into the second frame when Logan Couture tied the game. But in a series where the Sharks trailed for the majority, Game 6 would be much the same.
From the moment the puck was dropped following Couture’s goal, the Penguins took over. Pittsburgh got possession, turned the puck up ice and skated circles around the San Jose zone, putting pucks on net and making Sharks netminder Martin Jones dart back and forth to cover his goal. After nearly 40 seconds of zone time, which included Letang showcasing some fancy footwork along the left wing wall, Crosby dug a puck out of the front of the net, swooped behind the goal and laid a perfect pass out front for Letang to one-time home:
Letang’s tally was his third of the post-season and the biggest goal of his life. The Sharks would come on strong for the remainder of the second period, but fell flat in the third as the Penguins defended their one-goal lead and Pittsburgh held on to win its second Stanley Cup in eights seasons.
With Letang nabbing the winning goal, it marks the third straight Stanley Cup final with a defenseman scoring the Cup-winning goal. In 2014, Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez scored in overtime to win the Cup. Duncan Keith scored the first goal in a scoreless game to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to the 2015 championship. And Letang’s goal adds him to the list of rearguards turned Stanley Cup hero.
Following the on-ice celebration and handshake line, Sidney Crosby’s first Cup pass was to Trevor Daley, who delivered it to Pascal Dupuis, who then handed it to Marc-Andre Fleury. And after the Penguins and their families celebrated on the SAP Center ice, they headed to the dressing room to continue the party. And it wouldn’t be post-game of a title-winning season without Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’: